Oct 3, 2019

Coping with Mosquito Bites when You're Allergic

If you're in Southern California, you might have noticed the new tiny mosquitos who've decided to call our home their home. Unfortunately, I've always been a mosquito magnet, and I've always been highly sensitive to mosquito bites.

But this new breed of mosquitoes - wow, I've never been this sensitive before! According to Los Angeles County, we're experiencing "Invasive Aedes Mosquitoes," but the good news is that they're not disease carrying.

However, it turns out that it's possible to be allergic to mosquito bites. Or more specifically, mosquito saliva. Apparently human blood is too thick for mosquitoes to just suck up, so they inject their saliva at the bite site to thin the blood, and it's the saliva that causes these intense reactions my body is having.

Coping with Mosquito Bites when You're Allergic

I decided against pictures to illustrate my point, but let me describe my symptoms: swelling, redness, hardness, heat, blisters, and oozing.

The best approach is prevention, i.e., not getting bitten. Strategies include:
  • Covering up (I've given up sandals and taken to wearing my boys' Under Armour socks with tennis shoes, and full-length pants)

  • Ensuring that there's air circulating around (if I'm going to be sitting for a while, I bring this USB-rechargeable fan, which I absolutely adore)

  • Using repellent (I've opted for this spray, which has worked well so far)
However, if you're a mosquito magnet, you're going to get bitten despite all precautions. Strategies for coping with the swelling and itchiness include:
  • A hot spoon pressed against the site (it really works!)

  • Benadryl Itch-Relief stick and spray (the stick is more convenient, but the spray covers more area and has a bit of a cooling effect)

  • Ice packs

  • Hydrocortisone cream or ointment

  • Oral allergy medication (I think this might be more of a placebo effect, but I do feel less itchy after taking a Claritin)
Calamine lotion is a common recommendation, but it's never worked for me. Also, mosquitoes need standing water to breed, so eliminating those environments for them (e.g., plant saucers) is important. The current cycle is expected to last another month, then die down and probably ramp up again in the spring.

Do you have any tips for coping with mosquito bites?

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Kathy Linklater said...

I've been getting bitten in a terrible way this year. At first, I thought the little buggers that I saw were gnats. "Where are the mosquitoes that are biting me? All I see are gnats." Until I looked closely. Grrrr. I'm trying vitamin B1 500mg that I bought on Amazon. Unfortunately, it takes at least a week to notice the difference. I've only bee taking the supplement for about 4 days.

Chief Family Officer said...

I haven't heard that one before - please let me know if it works!!

Kathy Linklater said...

It's been about a week since I start taking vitamin B1 (though I may have missed a dose or two). I sat at my computer today and got three mosquito bites. But you know what? As I am typing this, I realize that the bites don't itch like crazy as they had prior to taking vitamin B1. Interesting.

Chief Family Officer said...

That is interesting! Although I have to say, I kind of hope that you've developed an immunity of sorts, so the bites just don't bother you so much anymore :P Thank you for the update!