Why Do Some People Get Skeeter Syndrome?

By The Captain September 12, 2020

Wellness Captain Skeeter Syndrome

Summer is almost over, but mosquitos are far from done buzzing around as soon as the evening sets in. Some of us can resist the urge of clawing at mosquito bites, which helps them go away fairly quickly.

However, many people experience more severe reactions to bites and they may last for days. The medical term for this allergic reaction is ‘skeeter syndrome.’


What is Skeeter Syndrome?

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Skeeter Syndrome is an inflammatory reaction to common mosquito bites. Luckily, it’s relatively rare, but it’s ideal that everyone should know how to spot it.


Here are the main differences:

Normally, a mosquito bite causes immediate swelling and redness. The peak of the reaction is about 20 minutes after the bite and leaves you with an itchy bump smaller than 2 centimeters (3/4 inch) in diameter.

Skeeter Syndrome causes mosquito bites to increase in size and last for longer. A welt can swell up to 10 centimeters in diameter (4 inches) within the first hour after the bite. The bump is itchy, red and may even become painful over the next couple of days.

Dr. Catherine Newman, dermatologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, explains that ‘Skeeter syndrome is the result of an allergic reaction to proteins in mosquito saliva. There is no simple blood test to detect mosquito antibodies in blood, so mosquito allergy is diagnosed by determining whether the large red areas or swelling and itching occur after you’re bitten by mosquitoes.’

People at risk for having Skeeter’s Syndrome are:

  • Infants and young children
  • Tourists arriving to a new region with mosquitos
  • People with immunodeficiency disorders
  • Patients suffering from eczema or asthma

RELATED: 5 Symptoms of Asthma You Should Be Aware Of


How to protect yourself

Whether you’re dealing with Skeeter Syndrome or not, mosquito bites still are annoying and it’s recommended to avoid them as much as possible. But we all know that not every mosquito repellant on the market works, right?

Luckily, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues a list of ingredients that actually work in protecting you from mosquito bites:

  1. DEET (N-diethyl-m-toluamide) found in products like Ultrathon which you can find here;
  2. Picaridin (2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperidinecarboxylic acid 1-methylpropyl ester) found in products like Cutter Advanced and Autan;
  3. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (para-menthane-3) included in a repellent such as Repel. The CDC notes that using lemon eucalyptus essential oil alone does not protect you from insect bites.

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