Tips for Mosquito Bite Prevention and Recognizing Allergic Reactions
While counties begin to spray for mosquitoes and spread prevention campaigns, people need to know how to identify between common side effects and severe allergic reactions, to know when to act quickly.
The female mosquito feeds on blood to reproduce and when a mosquito bites, it injects saliva and its proteins into the skin. The mosquito bite is painless, in contrast to bees. A normal reaction consists of immediate swelling and redness with a delayed itchy bump that peaks in up to 48 hours. An abnormal local reaction, often called “Sketter Syndrome” may produce swelling of an entire extremity peaking at 10 hours. Serious reactions to mosquito bites, although reported, are rare and could consist of generalized hives, asthma, anaphylaxis, serum sickness, enlargement of liver, spleen or ulcerated skin reaction.
Mosquitoes live in grass and bushes located close to houses and playgrounds;. they prefer stagnant water to lay their eggs, and hot, humid environments are most comfortable for their growth and survival. To prevent the spreading of mosquitoes, an effort should be made to drain standing rain or sprinkler water from around your home. You should also keep grass and vegetation trimmed.
Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn. If you are spending extended amounts of time outside or have a weakened immune system, it is recommended that you use socks, long pants, sleeves, and insect repellant. Khaki or beige-colored clothing is best as mosquitoes are not attracted to these colors, it is also recommended you stick to unscented varieties of shampoos and lotions. The most effective insect repellents are DEET and picaridin.
Mosquito bites should be washed with soap and warm water. An ice pack may help relieve the immediate itching. Nails should be kept short in children to prevent damage from scratching. A non-sedating antihistamine should immediately be administered. Antibiotics are not recommended nor are topical local anesthetic as they may cause contact allergy. For severe local reactions, oral steroids may be prescribed by an allergist.
In rare cases, a bite may cause anaphylaxis, urticaria (hives) or an asthma attack. These reactions may occur within minutes of bite and require immediate medical attention. If anaphylaxis occurs, do not hesitate and call 9-1-1. An allergist should be seen if any of these serious reactions occur.
If ‘sketters’ are getting under your skin and simple treatments are not working, please consult an allergist, the specialist in dealing with all allergic reactions.
With 17 locations in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care can help you get your symptoms under control. For an office near you, visit www.florida-allergy.com or call 1-877-425-5374.
Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care has been in business for 40 years and has board certified physicians with extensive experience in treating both adults and children. FCAAC has 17 centers throughout South Florida, serving communities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. The Centers specialize in the testing and treatment of adults and children who suffer from allergies, asthma and other disorders of the immune system. Among the most common allergies treated are allergic skin diseases, food, drug and pet allergies. Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care Research conducts clinical trials on new medications. The goal of the FCAAC team is to provide professional and quality care resulting in total patient satisfaction.
Eloise E. Rodriguez
Bristol Public Relations