We got to our smaller friends – mosquitoes. Mosquito allergy is an interesting and exciting topic. If only because an allergic person can react, not only to mosquito bites, but also to parts of the insect’s body.
Mosquito particles are airborne and contain volatile proteins and allergens. The most studied of the mosquito’s volatile proteins, Tropomyosin, causes allergic cross-reactions with the tropomyosins of arthropods.
To catch mosquito squirrels you don’t have to meet an insect, just swim in the lake or cut fresh freshwater fish.
Mosquito allergy refers to a type of insect allergy (Insecta) called Kulicidosis.
If you are allergic to, for example, birch, this does not mean that you will necessarily have a reaction to insect bites.
But if an allergy to mosquitoes has already formed, there is a risk of developing allergies to other insects.
Interestingly, people with atopic dermatitis are more likely to develop insect allergies. Probably because the protective function of the atopic skin is impaired and allergens easily penetrate through it.
Biologists consider mosquitoes to be non-stinging insects, like butterflies, bedbugs, lice, fleas and cockroaches. Some insect proteins can cause allergic cross reactions. For example, if there is a reaction to a cockroach, then there may be a reaction to a grasshopper and house dust mite.
And here’s another little-known fact: mosquitoes love the blood of animals – rats, artiodactyls, and human blood, with all due respect, is not a delicacy for them. Human blood is poor in the substance necessary for the formation of mosquito eggs – the amino acid isoleucine.
In habitats of people, there are usually not many other animals, so mosquitoes have no choice – they have to bite us.
If you think that a mosquito pierces the skin of a mammal with its proboscis, then you are wrong. I was wrong too.
The mosquito also has enough other weapons. The insect probes the skin with its proboscis, looking for a suitable place for a bite. What places do mosquitoes like the most? It is still a mystery for scientists.
When a suitable place is found on the victim’s body, the mosquito pierces the skin with the mandibles (mandibles), then uses them as spacers so that the edges of the wound do not come together.
Then the mosquito plunges the lower jaws, similar to the sharpest saws, into the wound, and saws it off. And only after that, the mosquito inserts two needles into the wound. Through the first it sucks blood, through the second it injects saliva with an anticoagulant, which prevents blood from clotting.
Mosquito saliva contains proteins that are allergens to which an allergic reaction occurs most often. Scientists have studied 12 proteins in mosquito saliva well.
There is no reaction to the first bite of a mosquito, it appears on subsequent bites. If the immune system is in order, then the body over time reacts less to the same type of mosquito – the principle of vaccination.
If the reaction to the bite is allergic, then it will not weaken with age. The more the allergic person encounters mosquitoes, the stronger the reaction will be.
Reactions to a mosquito bite can be divided into several types:
- normal reaction;
- allergic reaction;
- dangerous allergic reaction.
Symptoms of a normal allergic reaction
- The bite site turns red, swells, an itchy pimple appears;
- in people with sensitive and thin skin, the bite may turn blue. The blueness fades over time;
- symptoms disappear after 7 to 11 days.
A normal reaction is not dangerous. Itching causes trouble: due to scratching, the wound can become infected and you will have to use an antibiotic ointment.
- The site of the bite swells greatly – the diameter of the edema can easily be more than 10 cm;
- swelling at the site of the bite persists from several hours to several weeks;
- the wound hurts, itches very much, becomes warm or hot to the touch;
- rash at the site of the bite;
- Skeeter’s Syndrome may develop (very large swelling when the mosquito bite swells, expands and hurts like a wasp bite. Blisters appear at the site of the bite, the temperature rises);
- stomach ache;
- dry mouth;
- sometimes the temperature rises (especially if there are a lot of bites);
- lymph nodes may enlarge;
Keep in mind that if a mosquito has bitten a small child or adult in a sensitive place – an eyelid, lip, forehead, temple – the reaction may be severe, but not allergic.
If symptoms of a severe reaction occur after each mosquito bite, or the reaction intensifies, then it’s time to visit an allergist.
Symptoms of a dangerous allergic reaction
We urgently call an ambulance!
- Edema, redness, itching spread throughout the body beyond the bite – they bit the leg, and the face began to swell;
- dizziness, nausea and vomiting;
- sharp hoarseness of the voice;
- it becomes difficult to breathe;
- dizzy and feeling that you are about to faint.
If there have been cases of anaphylactic shock, always keep adrenaline and an ambulance phone on hand. In European pharmacies, adrenaline pens EpiPen, Anapen Jext are on sale. Learn to use an autoinjector beforehand and know your dosage.
In case of anaphylaxis, adrenaline is needed. Hormones – prednisone or dexamethasone are used for urticaria. The dosage should be checked with the doctor.
Diagnosing mosquito allergies
It is not easy to correctly identify an allergic reaction. Especially if the diagnosis is made without the help of an allergist or dermatologist.
A mosquito bite rash can be confused with a prurigo (prurigo) rash or a toxic rash that affects people with autoimmune diseases. In addition, the cause of the rash can be an infection, the pathogen of which has entered the body with insect saliva.
Therefore, if you suspect you have an allergic reaction, hurry to the allergist. The doctor will examine, listen and, possibly, prescribe additional examinations.
Allergy diagnostic algorithm:
- an allergist must establish a link between symptoms and a bite;
- positive skin tests (prick tests) with insect body extracts – Aedes aegypti;
- there must be IgE antibodies to the mosquito in the blood.
It makes no sense to donate specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) for mosquito allergens. A positive analysis only confirms the fact that the body has already met with proteins – allergens.
Remember the time of the onset of the reaction, its duration, symptoms and sensations after the bite – this will help the doctor draw the right conclusions.
On the UpToDate website, I found interesting information: it is not always necessary to carry out skin tests or take a blood test for specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) to mosquito saliva.
The reagents being researched contain very little mosquito saliva, but many other irritating proteins. These proteins can show false positives.
I think you will find laboratories that offer mosquito saliva testing, such as the ImmunoCap (Phadia) method. However, without the referral of a doctor and his help in interpreting the result, it is better not to take the analysis.
You can do provocative tests – they are considered the most reliable, but doctors rarely do them, since during the test, an allergic person can have a serious reaction. In Russia, such tests are not certified, in other words, prohibited.
Application skin tests (Patch test) are also banned in our country. Abroad, such tests are carried out with insect extracts if contact dermatitis is suspected.
- Relief of allergy symptoms with 2nd generation antihistamines (at an age-specific dosage): cetirizine, loratadine, desloratadine. The duration of the appointment is prescribed by the doctor.
- Normalization of the general condition with glucocorticosteroids: pulmicort, nazonex.
- The use of antipruritic creams.
- If it is not possible to avoid mosquito bites, the doctor may prescribe antihistamines for the entire duration of the insect’s activity.
- Apply repellents.
Fortunately, mosquito bite allergies can be treated with immunotherapy. However, like an allergy to bee and wasp stings.
AIT helps to reduce the body’s sensitivity to mosquito allergens and improves the quality of life of an allergic person, reducing the level of fear of insects
Allergy immunotherapy is carried out in autumn and winter for 3 – 5 years. For therapy, an extract of mosquito bodies is used.
Mosquito allergy is treated with drugs and in tablets and injections.
When is Allergy immunotherapy prescribed?
- if true mosquito allergy is confirmed;
- increasing violent reactions to bites (severe systemic reactions);
- respiratory manifestations worsening year after year;
- strong fear of an allergy sufferer of insects.
How to avoid mosquito bites
The best way to avoid a bite is prevention. If you are going to rest in warm regions, remember that in hot countries mosquitoes carry dangerous infections.
- do not go into parks, forests, water bodies and swamps;
- and of course, do not swim in stagnant water;
- install mosquito nets on windows. Just don’t leave your child alone in a room with an open window;
- use mosquito nets for strollers;
- fumigators (it is not recommended to use if a child under 2 years old is at home);
- ultraviolet, electric or carbon dioxide mosquito traps (for example: Swissinno SWI-20 or EcoSniper GF-4WB);
- wear the most closed clothing made of dense fabric;
- use repellents. Before going outside, treat clothes with special impregnations, lotions, sprays;
- do not wear clothes of bright colors – insects distinguish them;
- in the heat, do not wear dark clothes, you will sweat more in it, and mosquitoes are guided by a high concentration of carbon dioxide;
- try to stay at home in the evening. In the dark, mosquitoes become active;
- remove all standing water: buckets, barrels. Unfortunately, the pond will also have to be filled up;
- inspect basements and attics, there may also be standing water;
- if you cannot cope yourself, call specialists who will carry out pest control of the suburban area;
- always take an antihistamine and a passport or bracelet of the allergic person with you;
- if you react violently to bites, and you cannot run away from mosquitoes, then take antihistamines and keep adrenaline in your first-aid kit, and an ambulance phone in your address book. Be sure to check the expiration date and follow the storage conditions for the drugs.
What to do after a bite
Please check with your doctor for any medications.
- Wash the bite site with cold water and soap and treat with an antiseptic: chlorhexidine, octenisept, miramistin.
- Apply ice or something cold (through a towel) to reduce swelling.
- Itching can be relieved with antipruritic creams: Kalamin, Tsindol, Poksklin. Don’t be afraid to apply the cream as often as you like – it won’t get any worse. It is better not to comb the wound. Trim your child’s nails, and at night you can put thin mittens on him so that he does not scratch the bite in his sleep.
- Antihistamine ointments (allergozan, etc.), drops and ointments with zinc relieve itching well. I use drops of zodak or suprastinex. Just remember that antihistamine ointments increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Zinc ointment and antihistamine ointment can be combined.
- If there is no ointment, you can apply a soda lotion to the bite site: 1 teaspoon of soda in a glass of water. For 15 minutes.
- Doctors do not recommend alternative therapy: rub the bite with parsley, a basil leaf, apply a cabbage leaf, earth, plantain or gauze with urine. The risk of infection or allergic reaction is too great.
- If there are many bites, severe swelling or itching interferes with sleep, take a 2nd generation antihistamine for 5-7 days: cetirizine, loratadine, desloratadine, in an age-specific dosage.
- It is recommended to use one thing: either antihistamines by mouth, or antihistamines topically.
Severe itching and swelling will help remove hormonal ointments: Advantan, Comfiderm. Usually doctors prescribe them in courses of 5-10 days.
- In severe cases, doctors may prescribe a course of prednisolone tablets;
If a bacterial infection has joined – yellow crusts, pus, oozing appeared at the site of the bite – antibiotics may be needed. The doctor will prescribe baneocin, bactroban, fucidin, oxycort, erythromycin ointment.
- When the bite hurts badly or the temperature rises, you will need an antipyretic: ibuprofen or paracetamol. For a child, the dosage of drugs is calculated by weight. Ibuprofen: 10 mg per kg. Paracetamol: 15 mg per kg.
- In case of severe swelling of the eyelid, consult a doctor. Your doctor will probably recommend dexamethasone eye drops. Try to drink more (not to be confused with “drinking” :));
How to smear a mosquito bite
In this part of the article, I have collected information on commonly used bite remedies. The main thing to remember is that everything is individual.
Any zinc-based product: Zinc oxide helps relieve inflammation and relieve itching.
- Calamine – reduces swelling, relieves irritation, itching, inflammation and prevents the growth of bacteria on the skin;
- Salicylic – zinc ointment – has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effect;
- Desitin – Contains high amounts of zinc and helps relieve inflammation. For allergy sufferers with a reaction to fish, use carefully;
- Topicrem Cica – acts on the skin as a regenerating complex: copper-zinc-manganese, which relieves inflammation, itching, and prevents bacteria from adhering. The glycerin contained in the composition moisturizes and protects the skin;
- Uriage Bariederm CU – ZN – the cream contains zinc and copper oxide, relieves itching well and fights bacteria on the skin;
- Mustella Stelatria – copper and zinc effectively relieve skin inflammation and reduce itching;
- Aven Cicalfate – the cream is rich not only in zinc oxide and copper, but also contains sucralfate, this substance has a healing effect.
- Neotanin cream spray – relieves itching, inflammation, has an antiseptic effect;
- Psilo – balm – according to reviews and observations of doctors, an allergic reaction very often occurs to it;
- Fenistil gel is an advertised product, but, unfortunately, few people note the positive effect of it;
- Moskitol gel – balm – often causes allergic reactions in allergy sufferers;
- La Cree – cream helps with mild reactions;
- Antihistamines in drops at the site of the bite – drops of cetirizine, loratadine, suprastin, chloropyramine – remember that in the sun they can cause pigmentation;
- Compress, a pet of ambulance doctors: Apply one ampoule of prednisalone diluted with water 1 to 1 to a cotton pad. Apply to the bite site.
Lovers of gadgets can try the Bite Away device. They say it breaks down the insect proteins under the skin and relieves itching. True or not, I do not know, since I myself did not use it.
Any mosquito repellent can cause an allergic reaction, bronchospasm and exacerbation of bronchial asthma
When going on a trip, especially to third world countries, it is better to buy repellents at your home pharmacy – save yourself from a fake, and the instructions will be in your own language.
Be sure to put repellents in your luggage; they are not allowed in your carry-on luggage.
How to choose a repellent
The choice is great: clips, bracelets, stickers, sprays, milk, creams, Japanese products, jars and bottles with a natural composition with iherb.
All of them promise excellent protection against bloodsuckers. Some of them work, some are marketing fake.
Mosquito repellents that don’t work, according to the US Consumer Union.
- Natural repellents are based on essential oils. Prohibited for children under 3 years old, especially those prone to allergies. At best, natural repellents can drive away mosquitoes for no longer than an hour, at worst they can cause eye irritation and bronchospasm, especially in young children, allergy sufferers and people with bronchial asthma. Also, essential oils under the sun can cause skin burns.
- Repellent bracelets. The designers have tried: there are even leather bracelets. Unfortunately, tests have shown that repellent wristbands are useless against mosquitoes, so miracle wristband manufacturers receive hefty penalties for misleading consumers.
- Repellent stickers. Effectiveness not proven.
- Ultrasonic repellents. Science believes that ultrasonic repellents do not repel, but rather attract mosquitoes. For example, in New York, the sale of these devices is already prohibited.
- Ventilated mosquito repellent. Ooooh, I also used this miracle remedy when I thought to find an alternative to anti-mosquito sprays. Attached to a stroller or belt, and the baby is safe. Recently I found information: the device has not been officially tested and it uses metoflurin, which belongs to neurotoxins and carcinogens.
Repellents that work
In many countries, two chemicals are permitted for use in repellents: DEET (diethyloluamide) and picardine.
Now on the market there are repellents with an active ingredient – IR3535, which is positioned as hypoallergenic and non-taxic.
Products that include IR3535 only repel, but do not kill insects hazardous to health, such as ticks. Be careful!
- The higher the concentration of diethyltoluamide, the longer the effect of the repellent.
- Allowed for children from 2 years old, pregnant and lactating mothers. The American Academy of Pediatrics at a concentration of 10% is approved for use in children from 2 months. In Canada allowed from 6 months.
- It is allowed to be applied to the skin.
- DEET does not dissolve in water, it does not lose its effectiveness in the rain.
- In large doses, the agent is extremely toxic.
- DEET can cause allergic reactions.
Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023 and Bayrepel)
- Almost odorless.
- Allowed for pregnant women and children over 2 months
- Compared to DEET, picardine is less toxic to humans and is effective against mosquitoes for a longer time.
- Does not damage plastic and synthetic fabrics.
- Without smell.
- Allowed for pregnant women, the elderly and children from a year.
- In contact with the mucous membrane, it is very irritating.
- Short term of protection – in fact, about 1 hour.
- It is allowed to apply only 2 times a day.
The most popular mosquito repellents most often prescribed by doctors: Gardex, PICNIC BABY, Mosquitall.
Before using the product, apply it to a small area of the skin and monitor the reaction, especially in children with atopic dermatitis.
If the repellent has expired, you cannot use it.
An adult applies the product to a child.
Do not use adult products on your child.
Carefully read and follow the instructions: from whom the product protects, how often it needs to be updated, where to apply.
Repellents are applied to clothing or exposed skin, but should not be applied under clothing
If you have a milk or cream repellent, apply it to your hands first and then to your baby’s skin.
Do not apply the product in a thick layer.
Apply the repellent outdoors. Ask children to close their eyes, mouth and not breathe while spraying the product.
Do not spray near wounds, cuts or abrasions, mouth, eyes, or ears.
Do not use the product in the palm of a child.
Do not spray near food.
Be sure to wash your hands after spraying.
Update the tool regularly (see instructions).
Do not use the product more often than indicated in the instructions.
Do not store cylinders in the sun.
Keep repellents away from children.
If sunscreen needs to be applied in summer, apply sun protection first and then repellent.
Remember that DEET reduces the protection of sunscreen.
Essential oils on the skin exposed to sunlight can cause skin burns.
If the product gets into your eyes, rinse them with water, you can drop a 30% sodium sulfacyl solution and consult a doctor.
If the product gets into your mouth, rinse with water.
Be sure to rinse off the product if you no longer need it.
Stop using the repellent if you see a rash or your child complains of itching or discomfort.