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Insect allergy; Mosquitoes--Control; Insect baits and repellents


Man's skin response to the mosquito bite exhibits great individual variability. The everyday immediate reaction consists o f a red, or erythematous wheal that lasts only one or two hours. Twenty to 24 hours after the mosquito bite, a delayed reaction of erythema, swelling, and itching may also occur. An individual may exhibit an immediate reaction, delayed reaction, both reactions, or neither reaction. Studies suggest that sensitization to mosquito saliva may be responsible for the inflammatory response. This hypothesis is supported by histologic studies which demonstrate striking infiltration of inflammatory cells at the site of mosquito bites. Severe local reactions can occur in areas of compromised circulation.

Severe systemic reactions, on the other hand, are extremely rare. Although allergy or hypersensitivity to mosquito saliva is thought to cause both the ordinary and systemic bite reactions, this has not been investigated by modern immunologic methods.

The use of insect repellents is a safe, effective method for avoiding insect bites. However, these agents can cause allergic contact dermatitis or hives. Aerosol insecticides are also effective, but respiratory allergic symptoms can occur in susceptible or asthmatic individuals.

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