People vary in their reactions to mosquito bites. Most people develop itchy, raised bumps on the skin that last several days. No treatment is necessary, but calamine lotion or over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can reduce itching.
A few people have a significant allergy to mosquito bites. The bites can result in what’s called a large local reaction: swelling, blistering, itching, and pain affecting a wide area of the body (such as an entire arm or leg). Oral antihistamines like cetirizine (Zyrtec), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), or hydroxyzine (Atarax, Vistaril) can help ease itching. Topical hydrocortisone may also help.
Rarely, people with a severe allergy to mosquito bites develop anaphylaxis, a whole-body life-threatening allergic reaction. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
• Itching or rash, especially hives, in areas of skin away from the bite.
• Hoarseness or shortness of breath.
Anaphylaxis requires emergency medical attention. People who have had anaphylaxis-like symptoms previously should always have injectable epinephrine (an Epi-Pen) nearby.
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