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Allergies Health Center

Mosquito Bites

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A mild allergic reaction to a mosquito’s saliva causes a small itchy welt that usually gets better within a few hours. But if you are highly sensitive, symptoms can last for several days. The small welt can develop into an itchy sore the size of a quarter.  

It’s tough advice, but the best thing you can do is not scratch the bite. Scratching can create an opening in your skin that can allow bacteria in and cause infection.

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To relieve itch and reduce risk of infection:

  • Wash the area with soap and water.
  • Apply calamine lotion or anti-itch cream.
  • Put an ice pack on the bite.
  • Take an over-the-counter antihistamine.

If a bite causes fever, vomiting, or shortness of breath, call 911 or get to an emergency room immediately.

To prevent future bites:

  • Stay indoors at dawn and dusk and in the early evening.
  • Wear long pants and long sleeves when you go outdoors.
  • Apply bug spray with DEET or picaridin to all exposed skin.
  • Get rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed.
  • Use screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitos out.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on October 16, 2014

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