LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - With heavy summer rain, comes more mosquitoes - and, in turn, more mosquito bites.
“So, skeeter syndrome is really just a fancy name for an allergic reaction to mosquito bites. It’s typically associated with an allergy to some proteins that are found in the mosquito’s saliva," Dr. Timothy Haman, an infectious disease physician for Christus Ochsner Southwestern Louisiaina, said.
Those proteins they release are necessary to help the mosquitoes feed on blood.
“A mosquito salivates is because there’s anticoagulants in the saliva that keeps, makes the blood flow so they can get it. I compare it to like going to Dairy Queen to and getting a shake and it’s real cold and thick and you put a straw in it and can’t get any out. Well, that’s the same thing for a mosquito, but the anticoagulants make it easier for them to get a blood meal," Scott Willis, director of the Calcasieu Parish moquito control, said.
In turn, the mosquitoes’ saliva can cause an allergic reaction — or what’s called, skeeter syndrome.
“Which typically is reddish, painful, very itchy lesions that appear on the skin. It can be very annoying and very irritating. But, thankfully, it’s not something that’s dangerous," Haman said.
Haman said these are more common in younger kids.
“It is more found in kids, but, as you get repeated exposure, that allergy tends to go away," Haman said.
He said it’s wise to take preventative steps to avoid these symptoms.
“Before you know you’re gong to be in a scenario where you’re exposed to mosquitoes, take a non-sedating antihistamine like Claritin or Zyrtec, that could actually help.” Haman said.
He also suggested, of course, to take precautions you would normally take to keep mosquitoes away, like using bug spray and wearing full-length clothing.
Haman said while it’s not common there are cases, especially with mosquito bites on the face, that could require steroids. He said if symptoms persist long enough to cause concern, it’s best to take you or your child to their doctor.