Patient in Allergology Service

Mosquito bites, one of the main concerns of patients in summer

During the summer, insect bites are more frequent, especially those of mosquitoes, so in summer many consultations are generated about their prevention and treatment, as explained by Dr. Vicente Albéndiz, allergist at Vithas Xanit Internacional hospital and Vithas Malaga, who adds that the bite of insects normally produces a local inflammatory reaction and only in people who are sensitive to them more serious reactions occur.

The most frequent bites in summer are those of mosquitoes, both common and the tiger mosquito, although the reactions to the bites of the latter are more intense and persistent. Regarding reactions, Dr. Teresa Posadas, an allergist at Vithas Xanit Internacional hospital, tells us that the local reaction is the most common, whose symptoms are the appearance of a small welt (2-10 mm), itching and redness minutes after the bite.

The doctor clarifies that “It is known as an extensive local reaction when there is greater itching and inflammation (sometimes pain), in the form of a plaque of several centimeters that can sometimes be accompanied by low-grade fever or general malaise with the appearance of cellulite. And systemic reactions occur in children with certain frequency and to a lesser extent in adults, and it is when a generalized rash (dermatosis) occurs where small vesicles and lesions with intense itching appear and can leave the area pigmented for several weeks”.

The Nile virus, a new concern among patients

This year, concern about West Nile virus transmitted by mosquito bites has been added to common bites, as indicated by the increase in patient inquiries about it.

It is a disease that is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito and is NOT transmitted between humans, so the best way to prevent its spread is by avoiding bites.

As explained by Dr. Vicente Albéndiz, it generally produces mild symptoms, so that 80% of people who are infected by this virus do not have any symptoms.

However, on some occasions it can be serious and even fatal. “Only one in 150 infected has severe symptoms (high fever, stiff neck, muscle weakness, loss of consciousness…), that require the person to be hospitalized and around 20 percent have mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches or nausea”, adds the doctor.

Recommendations to avoid and prevent bites

To avoid mosquito bites, the Vithas Xanit allergology service gives us a series of recommendations, including the following:

  • Minimize exposed areas of the body, using long shirts and pants if we go to the countryside or areas near rivers or swamps.
  • Avoid wearing bright colors or using strong perfumes, as these attract mosquitoes.
  • Use air conditioning when possible and install screens on doors and windows.
  • Use of repellents: it is a recommended additional measure. In the market there are all kinds of formats: spray, lotions, cream, impregnated wipes, bracelets, candles… Although we must be careful to use only repellents that are authorized by the Ministry of Health, thus guaranteeing that they do not pose a risk to our health. Regarding its use, Dr. Teresa Posadas explains that “The duration of the effect varies greatly depending on the repellent, the ambient temperature, sweating, exposure to water or the use of photoprotective creams. The main thing is to always follow the application instructions on the product label or package insert, but in a general way: use the products during periods when insects bite and repeat the application only if this is indicated on the product label (each 4-8 hours depending on the product); avoid contact with mucous membranes, eyelids or lips, wounds, sensitive skin, sunburned or damaged, or on folds (armpits, groin, etc.). In the case of using sunscreen, we must apply these first and allow at least 30 minutes to pass before applying the repellent”.

Finally, in case of receiving the bite of any insect, it is usually enough to apply local cold. Sometimes, if the symptoms are very intense, it may be necessary to add an antihistamine or topical corticosteroid, in these cases always under medical prescription. And in case of presenting symptoms that involve more than one organ of the human body (skin, respiratory symptoms, digestive symptoms, loss of consciousness, etc.), especially if they occur after wasp or bee stings, see a specialist.

Vithas hospitals are safe hospitals

Vithas’ 20 hospitals are safe hospitals for patients and professionals thanks to the implementation of strict safety protocols against covid-19. Among the measures implemented, the establishment of two different circuits stands out: one for people with symptoms compatible with covid-19, and the other for other patients.

Additionally, we supply masks and hydroalcoholic gel to all people who come to the hospital for any reason. In addition, the Group is carrying out massive virus detection tests on all personnel, who are equipped with all the necessary self-protection measures.

A security that has always been reinforced thanks to the fact that all Vithas hospitals implement the strict protocols of the Joint Commission International, world reference body that accredits patient safety and healthcare excellence.

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