Skeeter Syndrome (Mosquito Bite Allergies)

June 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm


Far from the biggest bite I’ve had, just the most recent from a couple days ago when I went out into the field for my work. No, that isn’t a third ankle!

I see a couple posts the beginning of every summer, typically from moms at mom-based sites which I don’t want to register at talking about Skeeter Syndrome or more simply mosquito bite allergies. Funny name, not so funny results. Well, since I was a kid I’ve had to deal with Skeeter Syndrome. I’ve had mosquito bites swell up to the size of soft balls, take up a whole section of my arm and even my whole hand so I can’t close my fingers. Sometimes they’re simply itchy, but can become painful and/or can even ooze and be infected. People laugh at how ridiculous mosquito bite allergies are, but they stop laughing when they see how serious the reaction is. Let’s get one thing straight, not all bites cause a reaction. You can get 10 bites and only 2 react.

The funny thing is the mosquitoes seem to be more attracted to people who have Skeeter Syndrome. There’s obviously no science to back this statement up, but whenever I’m with people who don’t have allergic reactions to mosquitoes, maybe 4 other people and I, each person may get 2-3 mosquito bites whereas I may get 10. It seems too much of a coincidence for that to happen every time.

The absolute worst thing possible for a bite is to scratch it. Everything will come back to this. Not scratching won’t help prevent a reaction, a reaction seems to be independent to any reasoning I’ve tried to come up with, but it will stop the bite from growing to an unmanageable size and become infected. Scratching includes rubbing it against something, running it under water or any other type of material, touching it at all. If you’re dealing with a child who can’t stop itching, I really wish I could help you in that department. Whatever you did for chickenpocks?

Is there a treatment?
When I was a kid, my mom would try to put different types of lotions (ozonal, polysporin, home remedies) and bandages onto the bite, none of which turned out good. My bites used to grow to enormous sizes because of this. Any type of treatment which deals directly with the bite only irritates it more and makes it grow bigger, this with the exception of after bite. After bite doesn’t really help the bite per se, but it will temporarily ease the itchiness which stops the scratching. It’s addictive though I’ll warn you right now. Obviously if the bite becomes an open sore, then you have no choice but to bandage it up, but if it has become an open sore, the bite has been scratched despite what your child has said. Bites don’t open up on their own.

Best solution I’ve found is don’t touch it at all. I’ve tried anti-histamines and ibuprofen, neither seem to have any real effect. Cortisone can somewhat deal with the swelling of the bites. After bite helps with the itchiness, so that you stop scratching it or wanting to. Some people have suggested Sulfameth/Trimethoprim which is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections. I’m not sure if it’s the best idea to treat not as serious bites with something like that because the bite is an immune reaction to polypeptides in the mosquito saliva, especially with smaller children.

How long does it take for the mosquito bites to go away?
The good news is 1-3 days after the bite it should stop swelling and a couple days after that it should bite should subside and there should only be a little red dot left. Despite the fact that it’s mosquito bite extreme, it’s still just a mosquito bite. If the bite lasts more than a week, you may want to go to a doctor, especially if it’s an open sore which seems to be getting infected or you’re dealing with a child that has the bite. In my experience, I’ve never gone to the doctor for mosquito bites.

Should I/my child avoid mosquitoes or areas which may have them?
No. Mosquitoes are everywhere and I think keeping your child inside constantly would be more detrimental than having some mosquito bites react. You can prevent mosquito bites by covering up, wearing long sleeved shirts and pants. The worst bites are those on joints, just because you move and that technically irritates the bite. This includes elbows, wrists, hands, ankles, and waist. You may find that bites in these areas grow the largest. So wear clothing over these areas to avoid being bitten there. Also use bug repellent.

Do you ever grow out of Skeeter Syndrome, does it eventually go away or become less prevalent?
I’m 23 now and I still get reactions from bites. I think because I’m larger than when I was 6, the bites seem smaller but for all I know they could be the same size but proportionally take up less space. I can’t say if it becomes less prevalent or not due to this in terms of age. Lately I’ve been finding myself in the forest a lot more, where there’s an abundance of mosquitoes and black flies. At first after avoiding being bitten for a long time, my bites reacted quite badly in the early season in June. My whole hand being taken by the bite twice. Towards the end of the season in August, my bites seemed to lessen to the point where it was just a normal mosquito bite. None of them would react. I can’t explain why, it could be because my body had so many bites that it stopped reacting or the bugs are just less potent at the end of the summer season. Seems going out in the end of the summer is smarter than the beginning. Update (2013) – My bites are still not reacting as severely as before. Hopefully this means an end to my mosquito bite allergy?

You may want to check out this blog for more information.