Diagnosis

Doctors can usually identify mosquito bites by sight.

The red, itchy, painful swelling referred to as skeeter syndrome is sometimes mistaken for a secondary bacterial infection brought on by scratching and broken skin. Skeeter syndrome is actually the result of an allergic reaction to proteins in mosquito saliva. There's no simple blood test to detect mosquito antibodies in blood, so mosquito allergy is diagnosed by determining whether the large, red areas of swelling and itching occurred after you were bitten by mosquitoes.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Most mosquito bites stop itching and heal on their own in a few days. These self-care tips may make you more comfortable.

  • Apply a lotion, cream or paste. Putting calamine lotion or nonprescription hydrocortisone cream on the bite can help ease the itch. Or try dabbing the bite with a paste made of baking soda and water. Reapply several times daily until your symptoms go away.
  • Apply a cool compress. Try soothing the bite by applying a cold pack or a cool, moist cloth for a few minutes.
  • Take an oral antihistamine. For stronger reactions, try taking a nonprescription antihistamine (Benadryl, Chlor-Trimeton, others).

Preparing for your appointment

You won't need to see your doctor for a mosquito bite, unless you develop a fever or other signs and symptoms that sometimes develop after such bites.

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

Before your appointment make a list of:

  • Symptoms you've been having and for how long
  • All medications, vitamins and supplements you take, including the doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

If you're having signs and symptoms you think might be related to a mosquito bite, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What can I do to stop the itch?
  • Is the area around my mosquito bite infected?
  • Does the medication you're prescribing have any side effects?
  • How will I know if I need additional care?

What you can do in the meantime

If itching is a problem, an over-the-counter antihistamine (Benadryl, Chlor-Trimeton, others) may help.

Oct. 22, 2015
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