Skeeter syndrome is the name given to a rare, but extreme, allergic reaction to mosquito bites. While the nasty insects usually leave a small, itchy bite, individuals who suffer from skeeter syndrome aren’t that lucky. Instead the bites swell, blister, peel and ooze, sometimes causing extreme discomfort for weeks.
Following are some of the most frequently asked questions about skeeter syndrome – or mosquito bite allergies.
How is Skeeter syndrome diagnosed?
Because the syndrome is so rare, and clinical studies aren’t able to distinguish the difference between a reaction caused by skeeter syndrome, and one cause by a localized infection (such as those caused by cellulitis). One of the primary differences is that the level of swelling and severity of the reaction that is seen in patients who suffer from Skeeter Syndrome usually progresses over a matter of hours, rather than the normal timeline for an infection like cellulitis that usually includes several days.
Keeping an accurate history of the rate of progression is key to proper diagnosis. In some cases your physician might want to confirm the diagnosis through a series of tests to measure your immune systems reaction to mosquito saliva.
I’ve never had a problem with mosquito bites before, can I suddenly develop Skeeter Syndrome?
It is very common for individuals who have no prior history of an allergic reaction to mosquitoes to develop an extreme reaction, such as skeeter syndrome, for no apparent reason. Although there is no definitive research or known explanation why, in many cases it is the result of an allergy to a specific species of mosquito, immune deficiency, or a carry-over from another insect allergy that is progressing to encompass more insects. There are instances where an otherwise healthy individual will suddenly develop a serious reaction to mosquitoes, and sadly there is no good explanation why.
Do children with Skeeter Syndrome outgrow the allergy, or will it be a lifelong issue?
Many children do outgrow skeeter syndrome, especially if the syndrome presents during the infant and toddler years. As the body gets stronger, most children no longer symptoms, or they lessen significantly, in a few years’ time. This is usually a bit longer for children who live in colder climates and aren’t exposed to mosquitoes quite as often.
What are the best treatments for skeeter Syndrome?
Prevention is key in managing skeeter syndrome, and if you live in the south, a tropical country or other area where mosquitoes are abundant this means using mosquito repellents on your person, in your yard and your home. It’s a good idea to avoid the chemical toxic options as long term exposure can lead to severe health problems that are far worse than the reaction you would experience as a result of a mosquito bite. There are many natural, toxin free options that are safe for long term use and can help reduce the mosquito population in your home and yard, as well as protect your person from bites.
Of course, there is a huge chance that you will be bitten by a mosquito at one point or another, and if that does happen then the important thing is to manage the symptoms before they get out of hand. Topical and oral antihistamines can help control your body’s reaction and help you heal faster. If there is excessive swelling topical steroids, such as hydro-cortisone, can help control the reaction. In some cases, your physician might prescribe medication if your reaction is extremely severe to help with symptom control.
Check out our post on the subject for some great, natural mosquito repellent tips.