What Your Reaction to a Mosquito Bite Reveals About You and Your Health

Do you have that one person in your family who seems to be a magnet for horrible bug encounters? There’s always a sting, bite, or weird rash. In our clan, it’s my sister.

Mosquitoes loved her and when we were little, her bites would turn into bubbles. Just her. Everyone else would get regular bites, but hers would blow up and blister so bad that she would cover them with Band-Aids so they wouldn’t hit anything and cause more pain.

That may sound like a lot, but unfortunately there are people out here who fare much worse when they get mosquito bites. Allergic reactions are common when it comes to a mosquito’s saliva, but they range in symptoms and severity.

Here are some ways to tell if you’re allergic and the different types of reactions you may have to a bite.

  1. No Reaction

    You lucky duck. Some people don’t get the bump, redness, or itch that comes with a bite. Congrats, you’re not allergic to the insect’s saliva.

  2. Lump to Bump

    Most people will experience an inflamed lump after first being bitten, which will gradually turn into a small red bump. There’s itchiness and minimal inflammation over a course of days as the body heals from the bite.

  3. Blisters

    Bubbly blisters are an indication of a more serious allergic reaction to bites. Do not the pop the fluid-filled bumps, and watch out for other symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes or headache. Treat with a product like Benadryl or a topical ointment such as hydrocortisone or Calamine lotion.

  4. Hives

    One of the most severe reactions to a bite is hives, which is typical of “skeeter syndrome”. Hives appear as large welts on the body and may be accompanied by fever, fatigue, headache, or swollen lymph nodes. Although hives are considered a moderate reaction, seek immediate medical attention with these symptoms.

  5. Anaphylaxis

    This reaction is extremely severe and can send the body into a state of shock. One may experience shortness of breath, dizziness, swelling, and wheezing. This condition can be fatal, so seek medical care immediately.

Anytime your bite causes headaches, fever, confusion, nausea, or a rash that is uncharacteristic of a typical mosquito bite, visit a health care professional for proper care. Infections from mosquitoes can cause complications with your health, including sepsis, West Nile Virus, or other mosquito-borne illnesses.

You or your children may experience allergic reactions to mosquito bites, but keep an eye on babies and young children who show serious signs. Bear in mind that some of these symptoms may or may not show up on the skin alone, and to follow up with a medical professional for severe cases.

Bites that don’t require emergency care can be treated at home with cold packs, anti-itch creams, or warm oatmeal baths. And remember to protect yourself by wearing light-colored clothing and repellent, and by removing standing water.

Are you a victim of severe mosquito bite reactions? Which set of symptoms sound like you or someone you know? How do you treat the worst?