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How do I Tell if I Have an Allergy to Mosquito Bites?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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An allergy to mosquito bites is a common condition, although it may be difficult to tell if specific symptoms qualify as an actual allergic reaction. A lot of people will develop mild swelling and itching after being bitten by a mosquito, and this technically does constitute a mild allergic reaction. In order to be considered to have a true allergy to mosquito bites, these symptoms must be a bit more severe than what is considered a normal reaction to mosquito bites. Symptoms of a true allergy involves more severe swelling around the site of the bite and may sometimes lead to the development of a widespread rash, hives, or difficulty breathing.

It is only female mosquitoes that have a biological need to feed off of human blood. When the mosquito bites, a small amount of saliva from the mosquito is injected into the affected person. This saliva contains proteins that prevent the human blood from clotting as well as proteins that allow the blood to flow into the mouth of the mosquito. These foreign proteins are attacked by the immune system of the person who has been bitten, and this process may lead to a variety of physical symptoms.

In some cases, a person may be bitten by a mosquito and not experience any negative side effects. In the vast majority of cases, however, mild swelling and itching may develop. A person who has an allergy to mosquito bites may develop a variety of more serious symptoms.

Some of the possible symptoms indicating an allergy to mosquito bites include dramatic redness and swelling around the area of the bite. A large area of skin surrounding the bite may develop a rash, and in some cases blisters may develop in the area surrounding the rash. These blisters often hurt and itch at the same time. Occasionally, a widespread rash may develop all over the body.

In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis may occur. This is a medical emergency, and immediate medical care is urgent in order to prevent a potentially life-threatening situation. Symptoms may include swelling, hives, and difficulty breathing. Some patients may experience dizziness, confusion, or a complete loss of consciousness. Following this type of severe allergic reaction, the patient will usually need to carry an injectable medication at all times in the event that this situation happens again.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Lostnfound — On Nov 27, 2014

And sometimes, an allergy can come pretty much out of nowhere. I've always had some swelling and so forth with mosquito bites until last year. I got nailed on the middle finger of my left hand last summer. It itched like crazy and then my finger started swelling and the tip started turning blue! Scary!

I went to the urgent care and they gave me a Benadryl injection and some steroids and I went home and pretty much passed out from the Benadryl. When I woke up, my finger was much better. I'd never had a reaction like that, and the doctor said he had never seen one from a mosquito bite, either.

By Grivusangel — On Nov 26, 2014

I've never had a rash or hives from a mosquito bite, but I have had bites swell up to the size of half-dollars and get infected. To say nothing about the extreme itching!

It seems that, as I've gotten older, my reaction to bites is more pronounced than it used to be. The bites leave scars now, and it takes forever for them to stop itching and for the swelling to go down. I've started keeping no-drowsiness Benadryl around during the summer, so I don't get eaten alive! Not my favorite way to spend a summer afternoon – covered in insect repellent and eating Benadryl!

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