- The high rainfall recorded in recent months, suggest a greater presence of this insect (typical of tropical climates) in the Mediterranean coast of our country.
- Its bite, whose duration is longer than that of the common mosquito, can cause great local inflammation, rashes, secondary infections after excessive skin scraping, and even urticaria and anaphylactic shocks.
The tiger mosquito is an invasive species that arrived in our country in 2004 along the Catalan coast and, since that date, has spread mainly through the Ebro basin and the Mediterranean arc. The numerous rains collected during this spring have favored water accumulations or pools, creating the perfect universe for the development and reproduction of these insects whose larvae reproduce more easily as temperatures rise.
But unlike common mosquitoes, whose bites do not generate more than simple discomfort, the species ‘tiger’ is an important transmitter of tropical diseases such as Dengue or Zika. The symptoms and main characteristics of his bite are exposed by Dr. Clara Pérez Padilla, Head of Allergology at Vithas Xanit International Hospital: «The reactions are similar to those caused by the common mosquito (hardening of the skin, redness, local itching, etc.) but those of the tiger mosquito are usually multiple bites and much more painful, because there is more inflammation of the skin and they require more days for their total cure. They can bite anywhere in the body, but especially in the legs. Exceptionally, in patients allergic to venom, generalized urticaria, and even anaphylactic shock may appear. »
The venom of its saliva injected into the skin generates a local reaction because it contains proteins that the host’s immune system sees as foreign substances. As for the measures that the population should take to prevent the bites of these uncomfortable visitors, Dr. Pérez insists on using, first of all, common sense and applying measures identical to those we take with common mosquitoes. «To avoid mosquito bites there are a number of recommendations, in addition to the use of repellents: minimize exposed body areas using long shirts and pants (somewhat complicated in summer), avoid going to the countryside or walking near rivers, wetlands, marshes and garden areas especially during the hours of sunrise and sunset, do not use flashy colors, install mosquito nets on doors and windows and if necessary, use air conditioning, which prevents the entry of mosquitoes due to the decrease in temperature. »
What kind of repellent is best suited to fight against the tiger mosquito?
When choosing a repellent, the first thing we have to take into account is that it is authorized by the Ministry of Health. It is important to know that, as a general rule, repellents based on essential oils, such as geraniol oil or citronella, have less effect than those containing DEET (N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide), icaridine or derivatives of PMD (p-methane-3,8 diol) and that, at higher concentration, longer duration of effect. However, a concentration greater than 50% of DEET can cause skin irritation.
What if he has already bitten us?
Maybe, despite applying all the preventive measures mentioned above, the tiger mosquito manages to avoid them and leave us their dreaded bite. In this case «we must avoid scratching as much as possible, apply ice initially in the area for 10-15 minutes to lower the inflammation and prevent the poison from spreading. If we go to the Emergency Department, we will presumably be prescribed oral antihistamines, corticosteroids or topical antiseptics. Occasionally, oral corticosteroids and even antibiotics are necessary, but it is important to know that we must avoid the use of typical antihistamines in creams that are usually offered in pharmacies» concludes the doctor Pérez Padilla, who also recommends going to the allergist
If during your stay on the Costa del Sol you have an allergic reaction to the bite of a mosquito or any other insect, Vithas Xanit International Hospital has a medical emergency service available 24 hours a day.