How do you recognise an allergy to mosquito bites?


An allergy to mosquito bites is nothing more than an overreaction of the immune system to a mosquito bite. The overreaction of the immune system manifests itself by a more pronounced symptom. A redness is thus more extensive, a swelling more pronounced and an overheating more intense. Other symptoms such as fever, circulatory problems or shortness of breath can also develop.


An allergy to mosquito bites is usually also expressed:

  • Fulminant swelling,
  • Blistering at the injection site,
  • Severe pain in the area of the mosquito bite,
  • Circulatory problems (from dizziness to fainting),
  • Increased temperature up to fever,
  • Scratching in the throat up to shortness of breath,
  • A general distinct feeling of illness,
  • Pronounced fatigue to cloudiness with reduced responsiveness and awakening. A wheal is a reddish skin appearance which feels rather soft to the touch. If you look closely, you can often see an elevation in the centre of the skin, which is caused by the stored fluid.

They often develop as a reaction to a mosquito bite but are not specific for them as they may also occur as a reaction to mechanical irritation or ingredients of cosmetics for example. Depending on the sensitivity of the person affected, they vary in size and shape, but are characteristically always in the area of the bite. A strong swelling almost always occurs in case of an allergic reaction to a mosquito bite.

Strong in this case means that the affected area is significantly above the surrounding skin level. In relation to a mosquito bite on the forearm, this would mean that the circumference of the forearm would be enlarged by at least 2-3 cm in the case of swelling over almost the entire forearm. Often the swelling is felt as overheated and impresses with a distinct redness.

The strong itching in the area of a mosquito bite can be explained by the body’s own reaction to it. If a mosquito bites and transmits its saliva, cells of the immune system recognize this as foreign and reactively release the messenger substance histamine. This attracts other defence cells to irritate nerve endings in the upper layer of skin.

The consequence of the nerve irritation is the negative sensation of itching. Quincke’s edema is a special subtype of edema. The edema itself is a fluid retention in the tissue that leads to a swelling of the affected area of the body.

The special thing about Quincke’s edema is that it also affects deeper layers of the skin or mucous membrane than “normal edema”. If you are allergic to mosquito bites, Quincke’s edema can develop at the site of the bite itself or in the area of the throat and vocal folds. In the former case the swelling is clearly visible and can even be visually disfiguring.

In the latter, the swelling is not visible from the outside and those affected often feel breathlessness. It must always be decided on a case-by-case basis which therapy is indicated for an allergy to mosquito bites. It is the severity of the allergy that determines the possible use of medication, whereby it must be said from the outset that a severe allergic reaction can only be controlled with the help of medication.

Slight allergies can often be treated by the patient himself by means of cooling and the intake of antihistamines. Severe allergies, on the other hand, usually require the additional use of cortisone. The basic rule in the therapy of allergies is that the more severe the allergy, the more likely it is that intravenous application of the medication will be necessary.

In case of an allergic shock, adrenaline even has to be given to maintain the circulatory function. It is up to the treating physician to choose both the medication and the form of administration and to adjust them if necessary. Desensitisation is only indicated in the case of selected allergies to mosquito bites (e.g. bees) and should be carried out after a medical consultation.

Antihistamines act against the messenger substance histamine, which is mainly responsible for the development of the allergic symptoms. Metaphorically speaking, they block its binding sites in the human body so that it can no longer exert its effect. The result is a “slowed down” reaction of the immune system.

Symptoms thus diminish or cannot even occur in the expected intensity in a known allergy. The disadvantage of their use is that they often cause fatigue as a side effect, which is often experienced as a strain by those affected during the day. Cetirizine is a member of the group of drugs known as antihistamines.

It should be taken in tablet form as soon as possible in the event of a mosquito bite by those affected. However, cetirizine only relieves the symptoms of mild allergic reactions. For severe allergies, a combination with other drugs such as cortisone is indicated. Probably the best known side effect is fatigue.