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Everyone knows what it feels like to sustain irritating mosquito bites, but some people experience more serious symptoms than others. The most common mosquito bite symptoms consist of an itchy red bump at the site of the bite wound. This itching often prompts excessive scratching that breaks the skin, causing minor bleeding, and in rare cases, this excessive itching can lead to secondary infections. For most people, this is as serious as a mosquito bite can get with the exception of bites inflicted by disease-carrying mosquitoes.

The itchy bumps that result from mosquito bites are caused by an allergic reaction to mosquito saliva, which is transmitted into the bloodstream during a bite. The immune system releases histamine after recognizing mosquito saliva as a dangerous foreign substance. Histamine increases blood flow and white blood cells to the bite wound, resulting in swelling, inflammation and itching. Everyone experiences at least a slight allergic reaction in response to mosquito bites, but some individuals experience severe allergic reactions to mosquito bites that result in large bumps, intolerable itchiness, fever and other symptoms. Those who experience these symptoms likely have a medical condition known as skeeter syndrome.

Those with skeeter syndrome experience the full extent of symptoms within 3 to 4 hours following a bite. People with skeeter syndrome must avoid mosquito bites by wearing long sleeved clothing and applying repellent every time before setting foot outdoors. As anyone can imagine, living with skeeter syndrome can be a hassle, as those with the disease tend to avoid going outdoors during the warmer seasons. Many people with the condition have to wear scarves, and other forms of apparel that cover the skin, which can make being in the outdoors during the summer a nightmare. Whether a person has skeeter syndrome or not, avoiding bright-colored clothing and fragrances will help to prevent bites while outdoors, and considering the abundance of disease-carrying mosquitoes in the northeast this year, it would be wise for all residents in the region to behave as though they have skeeter syndrome.

Have you ever scratched mosquito bites until they bled?