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  • Dr. Sherry Barnett

Allergic Reaction- Mosquitoes in Flower Mound

If you have spent any time outdoors lately you know the mosquitoes are out in full force in Denton county. While there is lots of advice available about how to avoid being bit, another common question is what to do about “allergic reactions” to mosquito bites after the fact.

Can one be truly allergic to mosquito bites? Yes and no. When a female mosquito is done biting you she injects a tiny amount of her saliva into the skin. This triggers mast cells to release histamine, resulting in a red, raised itchy spot. Some people, especially if they are allergic at baseline (nasal allergies, eczema, food allergies, asthma) have exaggerated histamine responses and experience notable swelling. This is not a true allergic reaction as having allergic antibodies (IgE) to mosquito saliva in conjunction with systemic symptoms of anaphylaxis is very rare.

What can you do to treat mosquito bites so they don’t spiral out of control or last for weeks on end? As soon as you know you or your child has been bit, while the spot is still small you can apply a small dab of 1% Hydrocortisone (i.e., Cortaid) on the bite without rubbing it in and then apply a spot band aid over the dab to cover it, leaving it on at least overnight. This does 2 things- #1 it helps the topical be absorbed better and #2 it keeps you from scratching the top layer of skin off. Some people, children in particular, can get secondary bacterial skin infections once the top layer of skin has been scratched off and the area continues to be scratched or rubbed for days afterwards. In my opinion, hydrocortisone works better than topical Benadryl cream as it is anti-inflammatory and not just treating the itch. I hope this advice is helpful to you!


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