The prolonged heat wave in the country is impacting all of us. It can cause a lot of health problems, including an array of illnesses, including dehydration, heatstroke, and hyperthermia. However, with the warmer weather, there is another major problem that crops up is mosquito bites. While these blood-sucking insects are a nuisance for all of us, some people have a severe allergy to mosquito bites and it’s known as skeeter syndrome.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 3,500 different types of mosquitoes existing around the world. With children enjoying their summer vacations, most families are now heading out for holidays too. So, one needs to understand when and how you really have a bonafide mosquito bite allergy?
What is skeeter syndrome?
A skeeter syndrome is a rare disease that is inflammatory and allergic in origin. It occurs due to the effect of mosquito bites, and is different from common mosquito bites. The incidence of skeeter syndrome is more common in kids, and people with co-existing immune disorders, which makes them vulnerable in having an exaggerated response towards the proteins (antigens) in the saliva of the mosquito.
What is the reason behind it?
The saliva of the female mosquito has polypeptides which are made of amino acids. These are antigenic in nature. “Female mosquitoes bite humans to produce eggs. While sucking the blood with the help of proboscis (their mouth part). They leave a part of saliva in the human skin that avoids the blood from clotting. This saliva that has amino acids is the reason behind skeeter syndrome,” Dr Charu Dutt Arora, Consultant Infectious Diseases specialist, AmeriHealth Home Care, Asian Hospital, told Health Shots.
Also, read: Don’t let malaria haunt you! Use these 6 essential oils as natural mosquito repellents
How to differentiate it from a mosquito bite?
It’s not difficult to differentiate common mosquito bites from skeeter syndrome. While the common bites can cause itching, rash and bumps within 20 minutes of the bite, the immunogenic response in skeeter syndrome happens after a few hours of the bite.
“The itchy bumps of a common bite are less than 0.75 inches in diameter, which can last for 2 days. However, in case of skeeter syndrome, the bumps are 3-4 inches in diameter and can progress over 2-3 weeks,” Dr Arora added.
What are natural ways to protect yourself from skeeter syndrome?
The ways to protect yourself from this rare disorder are the same as that of common bites, and they include:
- Using mosquito repellants
- Wear protective clothing while going outside
- Using nets and tents while camping
- Use only EPA approved mosquito repellent creams
- Manage areas that hold water such as ponds, tubs and indoor plants
Most importantly, people who suffer from eczema, asthma and allergic disorders, should be careful about mosquito bites. They should seek a professional doctor’s opinion immediately for antihistamine and topical creams.
So, stay alert and stay safe. That’s the only way to combat skeeter syndrome.