If You Get Seriously Uncomfortable After a Mosquito Bite, You Could Have This Syndrome

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We're officially headed for warmer weather and with that comes mosquitoes again. While these blood-sucking insects are a nuisance to most people, some have a severe allergy to mosquito bites, known as skeeter syndrome.
Skeeter Syndrome isn't common, but it happens enough. And if you're feeling incredibly uncomfortable and even sick after a mosquito bite, you could have it. Here's what you need to know about this condition and how it's treated.
What is Skeeter Syndrome?
Skeeter syndrome is a newer condition that is being recognized by the medical community. It was first presented in a 1999 case study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The case study described five otherwise healthy 2- to 4-year-olds who were admitted to an allergy clinic after being diagnosed by various family doctors with "cellulitis," which developed within hours of being bitten by a mosquito. (Cellulitis, in case you're unfamiliar, is a potentially serious bacterial skin infection that causes the skin to become red, swollen, and hot.)
The children had varied reactions, including one whose face was covered in a red rash and whose eye was swollen shut for a week after being bitten by a mosquito.
Skeeter syndrome, the researchers concluded, is an allergic reaction to the proteins in the mosquito's saliva. "This syndrome is defined as large local inflammatory reactions caused by mosquito bites, accompanied by fever," the researchers wrote.
Skeeter syndrome "is usually bothersome but not life-threatening," says Dr. Purvi Parikh, Allergist and Immunologist at the Allergy & Asthma Network.
How Long Does Skeeter Syndrome Last?
Everyone's reaction is slightly different, but symptoms typically last between three and five days, says Dr. parikh
Skeeter Syndrome compared to a normal mosquito bite
Most people have some level of allergy to mosquito saliva, says Dr. parikh, but it is increased in people with skeeter syndrome. And that can lead to different reactions to bites.
With your normal mosquito bite reaction, you often get a small raised red bump. But usually with Skeeter syndrome, "the mosquito bites are bigger, itchy, raised, and swollen," says Dr. parikh People can also develop a fever, vomit, or have trouble breathing after a bite, says Dr. Catherine Monteleone, allergist, immunologist and professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. "Most people have a reaction to mosquito bites and saliva, but people with Skeeter syndrome have an allergy or hypersensitivity reaction to mosquitoes."
"This is different from a normal insect bite," says Dr. Monteleone. “The bumps can be up to four inches. They can feel hard, swollen, and painful. They can also blister.”
"Those with Skeeter syndrome may have more of their body surface covered" with a reaction after being bitten compared to people who don't have the condition, says Dr. parikh
How to cure Skeeter Syndrome?
There's actually no diagnostic test for Skeeter syndrome, notes the Mayo Clinic — meaning there's no blood test that can detect mosquito antibodies. So a mosquito allergy is diagnosed based on your symptoms.
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