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Mosquitoes in Mississippi Part Three: How to Treat and Prevent Bite Allergies, When to Call for Help

JACKSON, MISS– Mowing grass, gardening, playing outside, boating, running–Mississippians spend a lot of time outdoors. If that bug spray is forgotten or wears off, then it doesn’t take long for mosquitoes to latch on and take a bite. 

News Mississippi has been working with folks this week to learn how to prevent mosquitoes in your yard and how mosquito bites can actually be deadly. Dr. Daniel Vanarske speaks on the topic of mosquito allergies, and what you can do to treat and prevent a reaction.

“A small area of redness will develop, about thirty minutes or so after the bite,” says Dr. Daniel Vanarske. That doesn’t sound terrible, but the reactions can get a lot worse.

“For a larger local reaction, the mark can be larger, and last for days or even weeks,” says Vanarske, “in extreme reactions, anaphylactic reactions, the respiratory and cardiovascular system can be involved and it could lead to death if not treated quickly.”

So how do you treat a mosquito bite reaction?

“A skin cream from over the counter will work,” says Vanarske, “or a non-sedating antihistamine that’s also found over the counter. For extreme reactions, an oral steroid may be needed.”

But Vanarske says that in some cases, reactions to the bites can be preventable.

“An over the counter antihistamine can be taken the day you’re going out, if you know you’re susceptible to reactions,” says Vanarske, “also protective clothing if necessary.”

One option that Dr. Vanarske says is not available is the allergy shot. As of right now, Dr. Vanarske says there is no FDA approved mosquito allergy treatment in shot form.

If at any point someone is expressing breathing issues, swelling of the bite area, swelling of the face, or rapid heart rate following a bite, play it safe and call the doctor immediately.

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