FAIRBANKS — Mosquito bite allergies aren’t something people usually see a doctor about, but they are a common complaint once people get there, according to Dr. Tim Foote, an allergy specialist at Tanana Valley Clinic. 

Mosquito allergies are what produce the swollen, itchy bumps most people associate with mosquito bites. The reaction is usually to proteins found in mosquito saliva or sometimes mosquito body parts, Foote said.  

“It’s not an immediate reaction, it’s a reaction that develops over hours or days,” he said. 

While most Interior residents know mosquito bites are unpleasant, the good news is the allergy is unlikely to cause a life-threatening allergic reaction more commonly caused by bee venom.

“Anaphylaxis is rare squared,” Foote said. “It’s been reported in the (medical) literature, but I might see one (case) in the course of my career,” he said.

The mosquito allergy most people experience is called “papular urticaria” or simply “skeeter syndrome.” 

Foote recommends topical application of the steroid hydrocortisone, which is marketed under a variety of over-the-counter brand names. It’s best to apply these creams as soon after the bite as possible. 

Some people also take oral antihistamines, although Foote generally recommends topical medicines. 

Getting bitten by mosquitos is also, counter-intuitively, good for mosquito bites. The allergy tends to be less severe the more people have been exposed to mosquitos. 

Complaints about mosquito allergies tend to wane over the summer, to be replaced by more indoor issues like molds and pet hairs, Foote said. 

Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter: