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Bite with red circle around it: Mosquito Bite Allergy Symptoms – Mosquito Bite Reaction Meaning


Mosquito Bite Allergy Symptoms – Mosquito Bite Reaction Meaning

This article was medically reviewed by Shonda Hawkins, MSN, a nurse practitioner and member of the Prevention Medical Review Board, on June 11 2019.

There’s nothing worse than coming home from a hike, camping trip, or barbecue and discovering a ton of itchy, painful mosquito bites speckling your skin. Even worse: Your friend or sibling who was with you the entire time has no bites at all. So, what gives?

Well, it helps to know how and why a mosquito bites you in the first place. Only females are out for blood, explains Joseph M. Conlon, an expert with The American Mosquito Control Association who worked as an entomologist for 25 years.

“Female mosquitoes imbibe blood as a protein source for egg development,” Conlon says. When the female mosquito “bites” you, she inserts the tip of her mouth into one of your blood vessels, injecting her saliva into your bloodstream. The saliva contains a protein that prevents your blood from clotting as she eats. (What a pleasant thought, right?)

It’s these proteins, not the bite itself, that cause the swelling, redness, and itching that some—but not all—of us experience. It’s true: Seeing no reaction after a bite could mean you’re one of the lucky few who aren’t allergic to mosquito saliva, says Andrew Murphy, MD, a fellow at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

It also could mean you’ve developed an immunity to mosquito bites. “When a person has had repeated exposure to the mosquito allergen, her immune system can stop recognizing the allergen as a problem, and there is no reaction,” Dr. Murphy says.

However, many of us do have some type of allergy to these pesky bug bites—ranging from common, minor bumps to rare, severe reactions. Here are the symptoms to keep an eye out for and what you can do to find relief.

Minor mosquito bite allergy: Small red bump

What it looks like: round, white-ish bump, often with a small visible dot at the center; becomes red and firm after 1 or 2 days

What it means: This is the most common mosquito bite allergy and the reaction is more annoying than anything, says Jorge Parada, MD, medical director of the Infection Control Program at Loyola University Chicago and medical advisor for the National Pest Management Association. “This minor allergic reaction is in response to proteins in the mosquito’s saliva.”

Moderate mosquito bite allergy: Welts

What it looks like: slightly raised, smooth, flat-topped bumps that are usually more reddish than the surrounding skin

What it means: Some people are more sensitive to the mosquito’s proteins, explains Dr. Parada. This sensitivity causes them to react with larger welts instead of the traditional small bump. “However, some studies have found that the reaction is also a function of the mosquito’s feeding time,” he adds. “The longer the mosquito feeds, the more mosquito proteins are released, thereby increasing the chance of a visible reaction.”

Serious mosquito bite allergy: Hives and fever (aka skeeter syndrome)

What it looks like: welts accompanied by skin swelling, heat, redness, and itching or pain, along with a fever

What it means: You may have a reaction known as skeeter syndrome, a more extreme mosquito bite allergy. It can lead to excessive swelling of the bite area, as well as feeling hot and hard to the touch. Sometimes the bite area can even blister and ooze. While anyone can develop skeeter syndrome (even those with no prior extreme reaction to mosquito bites), Dr. Murphy says young children, patients with immune system disorders, and travelers exposed to new types of mosquitoes are at a higher risk.

Severe mosquito bite allergy: Anaphylaxis

What it looks like: hives, lip/tongue swelling, trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing

What it means: While anaphylaxis from mosquito bites is rare, it can be fatal. “Patients with anaphylaxis to mosquitoes will have the typical symptoms of a severe allergic reaction,” Dr. Murphy says. He mentions hives, lip or tongue swelling, trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing, and—in severe cases—passing out or death. “Treatment is the use of injectable epinephrine and seeking immediate medical attention,” he adds.

🚨 If you suspect a mosquito bite is causing serious symptoms like fever, excessive swelling, hives, and swollen lymph nodes, seek emergency help.

How to treat and prevent mosquito bites

If you do fall on the minor to moderate end of the spectrum, there are a few things you can do at home to help get rid of mosquito bites faster.

First, swabbing the bite area with rubbing alcohol can help reduce your body’s histamine response (the chemical produced by your immune system that causes allergic reactions) by clearing away the mosquito’s saliva, according to Jonathan Day, PhD, a mosquito researcher and professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida.

Dabbing your skin with ice, calamine lotion, or 1 percent hydrocortisone cream can also help tame inflammation, relieve itching, and overall soothe the skin. If that’s not doing the trick, popping an oral antihistamine, like Benadryl, can also turn off your body’s histamine response to reduce swelling and itching.

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More importantly, preventing mosquito bites in the first place should be your first priority. That way, you don’t have to worry about mosquito-borne diseases like Zika or West Nile viruses, or even chikungunya, malaria, and dengue fever if you’re traveling outside of the U.S.

Avoiding peak mosquito hours (dusk and dawn), investing in an outdoor fan to prevent them from flying near you, and applying insect repellent that contains ingredients like DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, and picaridin can go a long way in keeping the bug bites at bay.

Additional reporting by Markham Heid

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Everything You Need to Know About Mite and Flea Bites

Mite bites can cause skin lumps and rashes and, occasionally, more serious reactions, Dr. Merchant says.

Among outdoor mites, the only type that frequently bites people is the chigger. The word “chigger” applies to a particular species of mite that bites during its larval stage of development, and their bite produces an intensely itchy red welt, Merchant explains. “There are not too many other mite problems outdoors,” he adds.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Chigger Bites

When it comes to indoor mites that bite or cause health issues, Merchant says most spring from animal nests. “Some mites will infest the nests of birds and rats and mice, and when they become abundant, they’ll leave that site and sometimes wander into the house and bite people,” he explains. In most cases, the bites of these mites cause an itchy skin rash, which may feature small lumps or pimples.

“The skin might be very itchy or red for a few days, but then that will taper off,” Merchant says of mite bites. Ice and anti-itch creams like hydrocortisone can help control the swelling and itching. But those symptoms should resolve within a week, he says. (Nearly all species of biting house mites cannot live on human beings, and so they don’t “infest people,” he adds.)

There is one outlier: scabies. These mites infest a person’s skin, in order to lay eggs and to feed, and are usually only passed by direct person-to-person contact. (4) Like other mites, scabies tend to cause an itchy, pimply red rash. But unlike other mites, those rashes will continue to appear unless the person gets medical treatment, usually a prescription-only skin cream or lotion designed to kill scabies.

Dust mites can cause allergies in some people, but these tend to be of the mild, seasonal allergy variety — stuff like a runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes. (5) Over-the-counter and prescription allergy meds can help quell dust mite allergies.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Allergies

Know Which Bug Bites Are Harmful | Blog

Publish Date: 08/20/2020

By Khalilah Babino, DO, Family Medicine

As the warm summer weather continues, so does our exposure to insects. This time of year we often see patients who have concerns about insect bites.

Of particular concern is the Aedes mosquito that can be infected with the Zika virus and transmit it to humans during a bite.

Initially, this particular disease was primarily limited to Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, but it has spread to the Eastern Pacific and then South America and now is well-established in much of the Caribbean, Central and South America.

At one time, all cases of Zika in the United States were among returning travelers. Miami reported the first cases of Zika transmitted within the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is closely monitoring the virus.

The vast majority of people who are infected with the Zika virus will have no symptoms, while the remaining infections typically have only mild, flu-like symptoms such as:

  • Body aches
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Rash
  • Red eyes

These symptoms typically clear up within a week with rest, fluids and over-the-counter medication.

However, pregnant women who are infected with Zika are at risk of transmitting the virus to their fetus.

This can cause serious birth defects such as microcephaly in which the newborn child’s head is abnormally small and that can be associated with serious medical problems and developmental delay.

Any pregnant woman or woman who is considering pregnancy needs to take extra precaution in preventing mosquito bites and should follow up with her healthcare provider if she has concerns related to Zika for any flu-like symptoms during pregnancy.

Although Florida has reported Zika-infected mosquitoes, in the rest of the United States, mosquito bites are typically more an itchy nuisance than a threat.

Other pests that “bug” us this time of year include ticks, fleas and chiggers.

Bees, wasps, yellow jackets and other stingers come out in larger numbers in late August and September. Yellow-jacket wasps become even more aggressive as late summer progresses.

September is a prime time for these wasps that are often mistaken for bees to interfere with outdoor festivals and picnics. Reactions to insect bites and stings (when the insect embeds its stinger into the skin) can range from very mild to very severe.

Fortunately, the majority of insect bites cause only mild symptoms, including local skin redness, swelling and irritation. Severe reactions typically appear quickly and may require immediate treatment.

A wasp sting leaves a small mark when the reaction is mild.

Redness is an allergic reaction to a wasp or bee sting or an indication of an infection.

Swelling is an allergic reaction to a wasp or bee sting.


Redness from an infected mosquito bite expands around the bite. If the area develops red streaks, it may be a sign of a serious infection called cellulitis.

Here’s what to do depending on the severity of the reaction to the bite or sting. Mild reactions can typically be treated without a trip to your primary care provider.

Most bites and stings respond well to conservative treatments such as:

If you suffer a more severe reaction, such as excessive swelling or irritation, you may require a short course of prescription oral steroids and/or anti-itch medication.

Some insect bites can also lead to a skin infection called cellulitis. Clues of infection may include insect bites that:

  • Respond poorly to conservative measures
  • Begin to spread or develop red streaks
  • Become increasingly red, firm, painful, warm to touch and/or drain pus
  • Cause fever, fatigue and body aches

Unfortunately, there are insect bites and stings that can cause a very severe and life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis. Symptoms may involve:

  • Severe widespread rash and/or flushing of skin
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting

Anaphylaxis requires prompt and immediate medical treatment. While insect bites can be a big nuisance this time of year, there are some small steps we can all take to help prevent them. Some practical, everyday tips include:

  • Wearing shoes, long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks when going outdoors (especially in wooded areas where ticks are more common)
  • Wearing gloves when working outdoors
  • Staying indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are more active
  • Avoiding areas of standing water, which can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes
  • Removing areas of standing water in your yard
  • Keeping your pets healthy and flea-free
  • Applying bug spray/insect repellent to skin and clothing

Repellants containing DEET last longer depending on the concentration; for children, do not use one that contains more than 30% DEET.

Khalilah Babino, DO, is a family medicine physician at Loyola Medicine. Her clinical interests include immediate care.

Dr. Babino earned her medical degree from the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific at Western University of Health Science. She completed her residency at California Hospital Medical Center at the University of Southern California in family medicine.

Book an appointment today to see Dr. Babino by self-scheduling an in-person or virtual appointment using myLoyola.

Spider Bites | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Which spider bites are dangerous?

Most spiders found in the United States are harmless, with the exception of the black widow and the brown recluse spiders. Both of these spiders are found in warm climates.

What is a brown recluse spider?

The brown recluse spider, or violin spider, is about 1-inch long and has a violin-shaped mark on its upper back. It is often found in warm, dry climates and prefers to stay in undisturbed areas such as basements, closets, and attics. It is not an aggressive spider, but will attack if trapped or held against the skin. No deaths have been reported in the U.S. from a brown recluse bite.

What are the symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite?

Venom from the brown recluse spider usually causes local tissue damage. The following are the most common symptoms of a bite from a brown recluse spider:

  • Burning, pain, itching, or redness at the site which is usually delayed and may develop within several hours or days of the bite

  • A deep blue or purple area around the bite, surrounded by a whitish ring and large red outer ring similar to a “bulls eye”

  • An ulcer or blister that turns black

  • Headache, body aches

  • Rash

  • Fever

  • Nausea or vomiting

The symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

What is the treatment for a brown recluse spider bite?

Specific treatment for a brown recluse spider bite will be determined by your healthcare provider. Treatment may include the following:

  • Wash the area well with soap and water.

  • Apply a cold or ice pack wrapped in a cloth, or a cold, wet washcloth to the site.

  • Protect against infection, particularly in children, by applying an antibiotic lotion or cream.

  • Give medicine for pain.

  • Elevate the site if the bite happened on an arm or leg to help prevent swelling.

  • Seek immediate emergency care for further treatment. Depending on the severity of the bite, surgical treatment of the ulcerated area may be needed. Hospitalization may be needed.

Prompt treatment is essential to avoid more serious complications, especially in children.  

What is a black widow spider?

A black widow spider is a small, shiny, black, button-shaped spider with a red hourglass mark on its belly, and prefers warm climates. Black widow spider bites release a toxin that can cause damage to the nervous system, so emergency medical treatment is needed.

What are the symptoms of a black widow spider bite?

The following are the most common symptoms of a black widow spider bite:

  • Immediate pain, burning, swelling, and redness at the site (double fang marks may be seen)

  • Cramping pain and muscle rigidity in the stomach, chest, shoulders, and back

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Rash and itching

  • Restlessness and anxiety

  • Sweating

  • Eyelid swelling

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Salivation, tearing of the eyes

  • Weakness, tremors, or paralysis, especially in the legs

These symptoms of a black widow spider bite may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

What is the treatment for a black widow spider bite?

Your healthcare provider will determine specific treatment for a black widow spider bite. Treatment may include the following:

  • Wash the area well with soap and water.

  • Apply a cold or ice pack wrapped in a cloth, or a cold, wet washcloth to the site.

  • Protect against infection, particularly in children, by applying an antibiotic lotion or cream.

  • Give medicine for pain.

  • Elevate the site if the bite happened on an arm or leg (to help prevent swelling). 

  • Seek emergency care right away for further treatment. Depending on the severity of the bite, treatment may include muscle relaxants, pain relievers and other medicines, and supportive care. Antivenin may be needed, although it is usually not required. Hospitalization may be needed.

Prompt treatment is essential to avoid more serious complications, especially in children.

Bite With A Red Circle Around It

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7 hours ago Bug bite that has a red ring around it. A 28-year-old female asked: Bug bite with red ring around, no blistering? Dr. Robert Killian answered. General Practice 28 years experience. Pus or Abscess?: Until your doctor examines you this ‘bite‘ should be considered a potential staph infection. It is an urgent problem if there is pus or abscess in

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