Why Are Mosquito Bites So Big?


Getting bit by a mosquito is never fun, especially since each person reacts to these bites a little differently. While some people have only minor irritation and little swelling, others have it much worse. They could suffer with a lot of swelling, itchiness, and even some pain. Regardless of which category you fall into, have you ever wondered, why are mosquito bites so big? Here’s your chance to get a few answers so you can know what to do first when you’ve been bitten by one of these pesky insects.

What Happens When You’re Bitten?

When you get bitten by a mosquito, the first thing that happens is the mosquito breaks the skin using a special body part called the “proboscis”. After that they can start sucking the blood. The mosquito then starts to feed on the blood, and as it does, it injects saliva into your skin. At this point, your body reacts to the saliva. Since everyone reacts differently, not everyone knows what type of reaction they will get. Most people get a bump and at least some minor itching. Other people get a lot of swelling, redness, and soreness.

mosquito bites big

The symptoms that can possibly occur include:

  • A bump that appears shortly after the bite occurs, which is usually red and puffy.
  • A bump that is reddish-brown in color, hard, and very itchy.
  • Dark spots on the skin that often look just like bruises.
  • Instead of hard bumps, some people get small blisters.
  • Multiple bumps that can appear several days after the bite occurs.

Of course, these are the typical and most common symptoms of a mosquito bite, but some people suffer with symptoms that are much more severe, including:

  • An area of swelling and redness that is larger than most
  • Hives
  • Low-grade fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Reasons Your Mosquito Bites Might Be Large

Immune System

As a general rule, children, the elderly, people with compromised or weakened immune systems, and people who are bitten by a type of mosquito that hasn’t bitten them before are more vulnerable to severe reactions than others. The fact is, the chemicals in your own body are going to react to the mosquito bite a certain way. This is why everyone’s reactions to these bites are different. In fact, you may react to a mosquito bite one way the first time you get bitten, and you may have different reactions in the future. Your body’s chemistry can change, so this can affect the way you react to a mosquito bite each time it happens.

Allergies And Infections

In addition to the natural reaction most people have to mosquito bites, there are two other reasons that may be why your bites are bigger than average. The first is that you are allergic to mosquitoes, and the second is that the mosquito bite has become infected. If the bite is infected, you simply need to take care of it until the infection goes away. If you are allergic to mosquitoes, your life might be just a tad more complicated from now on.

Mosquito Saliva

The reason the female mosquito (male mosquitoes do not drink blood meals) injects saliva into the broken skin is to thin out the blood so that it doesn’t clot during consumption. Unfortunately, it’s the mosquito’s saliva that causes the reactions in people’s bodies, even though different people can have different reactions to these bites. If you scratch your mosquito bite – and sometimes it’s hard not to – it can get infected. What happens is, bacteria enter the body through the punctured skin, which causes the infection. You can tell if your mosquito bite is infected because it will be brighter in color than usual and also much larger.

female mosquito bite

You can usually treat the bite yourself if it becomes infected by simply keeping it dry and clean. Another treatment is to put an antibiotic ointment on it regularly until the infection goes away. That being said, if the physical symptoms become too severe or if you start running a fever, you should seek the help of a medical professional. In some people, the swelling is so bad that the affected body part increases in size and the skin becomes tight and uncomfortable. If this happens to you, it’s definitely time to see a doctor.

In most cases, severe reactions are the result of an infection, not an allergy. An allergy to mosquito bites is actually not that common. It does exist, however, and the symptoms are usually much more severe than a standard infection. If you suffer with hives, swelling around your mouth or lip area, vomiting, nausea, or any type of wheezing, it’s time to see a doctor immediately. In fact, some people who are allergic to mosquito bites can get high fevers, anaphylactic shock, and even an asthma attack in some cases. Symptoms this severe are sometimes life-threatening. Even if you just think you’re having an allergic reaction, seek medical help as soon as possible.

Skeeter Syndrome

Before we move onto what you should do in each of these cases, there is one more condition you should be aware of: Skeeter Syndrome. This syndrome happens to some people and causes severe swelling. It can even cause a limb to become twice the size it usually is. Sometimes, the swelling occurs within hours of the bite itself. At other times, it can take up to 48 hours for the swelling to appear. The point is, with Skeeter Syndrome, excessive swelling will occur. Just to make sure nothing else is going on that is serious, it’s best if you see a doctor when this happens.

While preventing mosquito bites in the first place is always recommended over treating them afterward, most people will get these bites at one time or another. Even mosquito repellent sunscreen provides no guarantee. When you do get bitten, and you’re curious about when you should see a doctor or be concerned about the bites, it’s really simple to know when to call a doctor. If you have any of the following reactions or symptoms, you should definitely get checked out by a doctor:

  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Neurological symptoms; e.g., weak muscles on one side of the body
  • Rash
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Severe headache

Seeing a doctor is always a good idea if you’re unsure about any of your symptoms. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The good news is, for most people and in most cases, mosquito bites come and go quickly and without causing any serious problems, so the chances of the bites becoming a real issue are fairly slim. Nevertheless, it’s good to be aware of what to look for in case a problem does occur so that you can be back to normal sooner rather than later.

mosquito bites saliva

Ways To Protect Yourself

Simple And Relatively Cheap Solutions

Avoiding a mosquito bite is obviously everyone’s priority. However, that’s easier said than done. We probably all experienced it at some point. Even though there’s no guarantee that available products will help you out completely, there’s some gear to know about.

Most of us have heard of the mosquito repellent DEET. It’s a fluid or spray that repels these insects to a certain extent. However, make sure to be aware of the downsides like we explain in our review. A natural mosquito repellent, like a lemongrass bracelet, could help a little as well.

If you’re struggling with standing water (which usually attracts a lot of mosquitoes), consider to read everything you need to know about mosquito bombs. And, of course, you could opt for one of the popular “tennis racket” swatters. They require a little effort and could be of help if you only have 1 or 2 mosquitoes flying around. One we like in particular is this bug zapper racket by Dynatrap.

Bug Zappers And Traps

If you’re unable to enjoy the outdoors in peace, and if your mosquito problem is (slightly) severe, maybe a bug zapper will help you out. They attract and electrocute these insects on contact, like for example this mosquito killer by Flowtron. Your choices are almost endless, depending on the area you need to cover.

Another option is to go for a bug trap. They pretty much try to do the same thing as the ordinary bug zapper, however, they don’t make those annoying “zap noises”. They simply suck the insect inside, after which it dehydrates. This mosquito catcher is a great example of a product that does just that.

Now, even bug zappers and traps are no guarantee that you won’t get bitten. Even if you have one around, you might still experience big mosquito bites.


Mosquito bites that are extra large are often due to either an infection or an allergic reaction. However, even bites that don’t fall into one of these two categories can be large and uncomfortable. Since different people react differently to mosquito bites, you could have reactions that are either mild or severe. The key is learning which is which so that you know when to call a doctor to get rid of any serious problems so that your life can eventually get back to normal.

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