Swelling from the bite of the midges: the reasons for the appearance, how many passes, Competently about health on iLive

Is the risk of edema after bite of midges?

Medical expert of the article

Daily walks and outdoor recreation are something that we recommend the followers of a healthy lifestyle, psychologists, doctors. Alas, these rules do not always contribute to the strengthening of human health, because in addition to oxygen in nature, we are waited by various dangers in the form of small parasites, which are trying to profit from the human blood. Attacks of insects, which we encounter most often during walks in the forest or near landings, often bring many unpleasant minutes, and the swelling from a bite of a midges, an aggressive fly or a mosquito can significantly impair the appearance and also constitute a health hazard.


Why does the bite of the midges cause swelling?

No one is surprised by the fact that the bee sting is almost always accompanied by swelling of the area near the puncture site of the skin. But the bee is a large insect, besides, it leaves poisonous substances in the skin, causing intoxication and a strong allergic reaction. Is the midge, whose size is barely more than 1 mm, can also poison the human body?

To begin with, the person who sees the insect as a provocateur of a bee or wasp sting is himself. Bees bite a person not from hunger, but in order to protect themselves, and therefore inject a poison, which is supposed to paralyze the enemy. But mosquitoes, horseflies, and gnats are classified as blood-sucking insects that use humans as a vessel with nutrients. Their attacks have a completely different goal — saturation.

It must be said that all the bloodsucking insects, including the mosquito (microscopic variety of the nematode), contain poisonous substances and anesthetics in the saliva. First the insect injects saliva, which anesthetizes the place of bite, and then begins the meal. The mosquito pierces the skin and sucks blood, and the midge is limited to taking a small piece of epithelium. But since in the beginning we are under the influence of anesthetic, we can feel a prick or a burning sensation already when our body has already lost a good portion of blood or flesh. At the same time, the culprit of the event itself can already be out of reach.

On the site of the bite, as in the case of other insects, swelling may appear. Usually, the appearance of such a reaction is associated with the characteristics of the organism of the victim. Edema is an allergic reaction to the introduction of saliva into the body of an insect, in which allergens are present.

They can be both anesthetics and other components contained in the saliva of insects. After all, these small pests are not for nothing considered carriers of various viral, bacterial and parasitic infections. In this, people see their main danger. Penetration of foreign substances into the tissue or blood of the human body, and such are bacteria viruses, eggs and larvae of parasites, accompanied by the development of an inflammatory process, which in fact is a kind of allergic reaction.

What happens during the bite of the midges and why does the swelling of the tissues come about? Consider the pathogenesis of this process. When an allergen enters the body from the saliva of an insect, a complex process inside the organism is triggered. At the meeting of B-lymphocytes, synthesized by our immune system, and antigens contained in foreign substances, lymphocytes begin to produce antibodies that along with T-lymphocytes attack the allergen.

At the first hit of an allergen in an organism of rough reaction can not be observed, in fact development or manufacture of antibodies is a matter of time, but thus sensitivity to an allergen raises. And when there is a repeated bite, active struggle of lymphocytes-defenders and the antibodies developed earlier with the introduced allergen begins. Such a struggle always has external manifestations.

As a result of the interaction of the allergen and antibodies on the cell surface, intracellular free calcium penetrates into it, which enhances the metabolism. This is a signal for the development and release of mediators of allergy: histamine, heparin, prostaglandins and some other enzymes.

The development of edema of the tissues is associated with the release of histamine. This enzyme increases the permeability of the vascular-tissue membranes, which facilitates the circulation of fluid between the soft tissues and the vessels. The liquid begins to accumulate in the tissues, causing an increase in their volume. This process is called edema. And the inflammatory reaction manifested by swelling, redness and pain is associated with an increase in the production of prostaglandins.

Causes of swelling from bite

It must be said that insect bites are not always accompanied by edema and inflammatory reactions. Probably, many have noticed that the reaction of tissues to the bite of Simuliidae in different people can differ significantly. Someone simply does not notice the bite, the other is itchy and discovers only a slight redness in the skin puncture site, and the third at the site of the bite there is a large heavily itching swelling.

In sensitive people, a bite of insects can be accompanied not only by external, but also by general reactions, which significantly affect the patient’s well-being. In rare cases, one has to face even the development of anaphylactic reactions due to the attack of microscopic parasites.

The clinical picture and severity of individual symptoms depends on many factors:

  • varieties of midges (and the saliva of different types of insects has a different degree of toxicity to the human body),
  • the number of bites (it is clear that the more poison enters the blood, the heavier the condition of the victim)
  • immune status (people with predisposition to allergic reactions suffer more than those whose immune system is less active, reacting only to a serious danger),
  • the age of the patient (the children’s organism is more sensitive to allergens, because the baby’s immune system is still in the formative stage, it is not surprising that in children under 3 years of biting the midge, a massive swelling may appear on the body)
  • individual characteristics of the human body (in some victims, there is an increased sensitivity to individual components of saliva of insects, so both external and general symptoms may have a high intensity)
  • the presence or absence in the saliva of midges or on the body of the affected pathogens (penetration into the body of bacteria and viruses will provoke more severe inflammatory reactions, so the place of edema will be noticeably strong reddening, pain, itching and even the formation of pus in the wound), but here an important role state of local and general immunity.

The condition of the wound at the site of the bite also depends on the person’s reaction to this event. Burning and itching cause the affected person to take some measures to calm unpleasant symptoms. People begin to scratch the place of the bite, lubricate it with saliva, not caring about the cleanliness of the hands and the body in the place of damage, and this in turn provokes penetration into the wound infection, complicating its healing.

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But who is most likely to be attacked by midge? The risk factors of attack of the midges are walks in the morning or daytime near the open natural reservoirs or among the high grass, rest in the forest, passage through the swampy place in the warm season. We must understand that the midwife can surround us everywhere, because she is afraid of only strong year-round cold that can be observed in the Arctic and Antarctica, whose inhabitants are not familiar with these small pests. But the probability of encountering hordes of biting midges is still higher in nature in places with high humidity, so lovers of recreation near the river and fishermen are prone to attacks the most.

In the morning and afternoon, the most dangerous are the flies and midges, in the evenings mosquitoes go out to bloody hunt.

Despite the fact that the bite of midge is considered to be quite common, there is no specific statistics on this. And this is not surprising, because not all of the above problem is addressed to the doctor. And some people generally can not notice the bites of microscopic creatures.

True, we can say with confidence that the youngest children are most vulnerable to insect bites. Delicate, easily permeable skin and natural milk smell of children attracts mosquitoes and midges more than perfume fragrance or chemical smells coming from adults. In addition, the skin of adults, especially men, is more dense and rough, which is not to the liking of bloodsuckers.

Moshka is quite difficult to get to the skin of a person through clothes, so people whose main body is hidden under the cloth of clothing can consider themselves more protected than those who wear short-sleeved or panty-hooded clothes or rest naked.

[2], [3], [4]

Symptoms of bite bite

As we have already mentioned, the organism of each person is individual. It is clear that reactions to insect bites are also individual. We can list only possible manifestations of the body’s reactions to a bite, but this does not mean that the attack of insects should result in the appearance of the entire symptom complex.

Midge — insects are herd, so their attack is usually massive. True, when you see a horde of insects a man tries to brush away bloodsuckers and not all of them manage to profit by a piece of human flesh. If it is a question of single bites, a person can note the appearance of mainly local symptoms:

  • sensation of tingling, the appearance of pain and burning in the area of puncture of tissues,
  • hyperemia (redness) of the skin at the site of the bite (the diameter of the hyperemic site depends on the reaction of the organism to the saliva of the midges, it can be both a red dotted spot and a large focus)
  • The swelling of the tissues at the site of saliva penetration of the insect,
  • itching in the area of the puncture of the skin,

Local allergic reaction to salmon of midges can manifest itself in the form of various eruptions on the skin (spots, small bubble rash, papules or dense nodules on the skin). If the site has been damaged, a dark, almost black scab may form on the wound site. If the infection was infectious, the wound begins to fester, increase in size and does not heal for a long time.

But in addition to edema and external manifestations, the person may have general symptoms of bite of midges. Usually they appear against the background of multiple bites and indicate the intoxication of the body with poisons from the saliva of the midges. The more the number of bites, the more poisons enter the human body, and the harder will be the general reactions, among which:

  • increase in body temperature of the victim to 39.5 degrees,
  • lymphadenopathy (a condition in which there is an increase in lymph nodes near the site of the bite along the lymphatic movement),
  • the appearance of signs of tachycardia (rapid pulse and palpitation),
  • a drop in blood pressure,
  • dizziness.

In addition to the symptoms of intoxication, people with individual intolerance to the components of saliva of insects may show signs of suffocation caused by swelling of the throat, especially with bites in the face, and dangerous anaphylactic reactions. Fortunately, such situations are extremely rare.

The first signs of bite of midge are burning, sharp pain and swelling at the site of penetration into the skin of the insect’s saliva, although they do not always occur. Subsequently, the place of the bite turns red and begins to itch, other symptoms of allergy and signs of intoxication of the body may appear. With multiple bites, the entire area of the body on which they are localized may blush.

The severity of bite symptoms depends not only on the individual response of the body to the introduction of saliva, but also on the location of the lesion. The most sensitive are the tissues of the face and eyes. The tender skin around the eyes is permeated with sensitive receptors, so the bite is almost always accompanied by severe pain, despite the injection of an anesthetic by the midge.

But there is also such an observation that the stronger the bol from the bite, the more pronounced the symptoms. What is fraught with damage to the area around the organ of vision? From the bite of midge appears swelling of the tissues of the eye, increased lachrymation, the victim feels pain and itching, the tissues around the eye and mucous blush, burning and rubbing in the eyes can be felt.

Especially sensitive is the skin on the eyelids that cover the eye. If a bite fell on this area, the appearance of a person can suffer significantly. The edema of the eyelid from the bite of the midges is quite a common phenomenon, and with multiple bites the eye can swell to such an extent that it will not be possible to look at it, in other words the eye can swim completely. In this case, the degree of edema depends on the work of the immune system and the number of bites that have come to the square centimeter of the eye area.

In people with a predisposition to allergic reactions and intolerance to the components of saliva insect bites in the head and eyes may be accompanied by more severe symptoms. From the bite of midges can develop edema of the entire face, the victim may complain of dizziness and dyspnea. This is a very dangerous condition, requiring immediate measures to reduce the intensity of an allergic attack.

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Rest on sites with high grass can result in the fact that a man will have his feet beaten, which in the warm season often turn out to be uncovered clothes, and that it is worth to penetrate the small parasite under the leg. The hordes of mosquitoes like to nest in the tall grass, and it is only worthwhile to take a short walk along it, as on the skin of the lower extremities there are specific traces of bites.

Multiple injuries of the lower leg and ankles from the bite of the midges may be accompanied by symptoms such as swelling and redness of the tissues at the sites of the bite, pain and itching. But the reaction to bites can again be different. At one person on a place of a puncture of fabrics only small spot traces will be found out, and another will suffer and complain of an edema of a leg from a sting of midges. The latter is very unsafe, because the accumulation of fluid in the tissues can disrupt the circulation in the legs.

Edema from a bite of midges in a child

We have already mentioned that the children’s organism is more sensitive to various unfavorable factors. And insect bites are no exception. The immune system and the regulatory functions of a child under 3 years of age have not yet been fully formed and the reaction to allergens is more pronounced than necessary.

In an adult person, swelling from bite of midges does not always appear, but small children have huge hyperemic areas on their skin, which hurt and itch. The bites of insects cause the child strong anxiety and a desire at all costs to get rid of an obsessive agonizing symptom. Kids start combing the bite site, at the risk of infecting.

In addition, children are more likely than adults to have a fever bite, because the thermoregulation mechanism in the child is also not ideal, and the increased production of inflammatory mediators can malfunction.

Raised monkeys from the grass surface try to land on the nearest open area of the body, and the children have a small growth, so bites in the face area occur more often than in adults. But even if an adult can have a swelling of the face and eyelids from the bite of the midges, then what can we say about the little babies, the body’s reactions to foreign substances that are quite violent.

Near water reservoirs, children under 3 years of age can generally run naked, so that bite marks can be found not only on the arms, legs and face of the child, but also in the buttocks and genitals, on the mucous membrane of which remain painful hyperemic traces that cause a lot of anguish to the little man .

[5], [6], [7], [8]

Consequences and complications

It would Seem, bitten the midge of an adult or child, will bite the place of the bite a little and everything will pass. Is it worth worrying about this? To begin with, the first insect bite in life can pass unnoticed without causing dangerous symptoms, but this is not an indication that in the future there will not be a wider symptom complex. It is only necessary to recall the pathogenesis of allergic reactions to the bite of midges.

The risk of subsequent reactions will be determined by the degree of severity of the symptoms and the response to them by the victim. For example, a small red itchy dot at the bite site can easily be turned into a large wound, which can then start to fester if the bite is carefully combed, which is often done by children who have difficulty in enduring itching. In addition, the child, in contrast to the adult, does not yet understand the full danger of infection in the wound.

And even if the skin at the bite site was clean and the hands before washing were cleaned up thoroughly, such manipulations would help increase the size of the wound and facilitate access to the conditionally pathogenic microorganisms that are almost always present on the body. And how many of us cover the combed wound?

But the infection of the bite site is not the only complication. Allergic reactions of high intensity also pose a danger, especially if they continue for a long time, increasing intoxication of the body. It is difficult to unequivocally answer the question, how much the edema passes from the bite of midges. After some people, it may not occur at all, others suffer discomfort only 1-2 days, while the third swelling appears only on the following day and only increases with time. There are also instant allergic reactions, when the place of a bite literally swells before our eyes.

But what can be said for sure, the long-lasting edematous syndrome poses a certain danger. So the swelling on the legs from the bite of the midges, which does not decrease for a long time, can cause the violation of peripheral circulation, and the swelling of the face and throat becomes a risk factor for suffocation and hypoxia.

Dangerous in this regard, and a strong increase in temperature, because this increases the viscosity of the blood and the heart becomes harder to work. And what can we say about anaphylactic reactions that pose a great threat to human life, regardless of the age of the victim. If a person does not provide qualified emergency care, he may die soon.

Do not forget the fact that the bite of midge is a risk factor for infection with some bacterial, viral and parasitic infections, especially when you consider the fact that an insect can bite several people and animals for a day. For example, epidemics of visceral leishmaniasis — a parasitic disease with a fatal outcome in the absence of appropriate treatment — in the tropics and subtropics are associated with the bites of Simuliidae.

It turns out that the bite of such a small bloodsucker as a midge can be a threat to human life and health, so do not treat this situation with the usual carelessness.

[9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16], [17]

Diagnosis of edema due to bite bite

Regardless of which insect the person inflicted on the bite, if there is a strong edema of the tissues and other strongly pronounced allergic manifestations (for example, urticaria, which can later develop into an anaphylactic reaction), a person should seek help from a doctor. Since such an event can occur at any time of the day with severe allergic reactions, you do not need to queue for a therapist or dermatologist, you need to go to the emergency room, where there are always doctors who can provide emergency help in such a situation or make appropriate appointments.

From the bite of insects there is always a specific trace with a visible place of puncture of the skin, therefore diagnostics usually do not cause special difficulties. But it is more difficult to determine the insect that inflicted the wound, because the person responsible for the accident may not even notice. During the bite of saliva, midges act as an anesthetic, and the moment of bite a person can not catch.

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It is necessary to know that the swelling of the tissues from the bite of the midges is stronger than from the mosquito, because the latter only pierces the skin to get to the blood vessel, while the midges tear off a piece of human flesh, even microscopic. At the site of the bite, a small wound is formed instead of a practically imperceptible puncture from a mosquito bite.

In order for a doctor to understand what exactly he is dealing with, it is necessary to tell in detail, under what conditions an itchy edematous stain appeared, what preceded it, what symptoms, in addition to external manifestations, appeared in the victim in the near future. Anamnesis and the patient’s story will help to understand whether the victim had previously had close contact with insects, and what was the body’s reaction to them.

Serious systemic and local reactions require more detailed study. The patient is most often prescribed allergens to determine the nature of the reaction of the body. If it is a question of an allergic reaction, analysis with various allergens will help to identify both the causative agent and the degree of sensitivity of the organism to the allergen revealed.

It is important to understand that once an allergic reaction occurs, it does not pass without a trace, because it indicates the increased sensitivity of the body to the allergen, which is the saliva of midges. With a second bite, the reactions can not only repeat, but even be more pronounced, because the amount of antibodies in the body will grow with each subsequent reaction. They will pose a real danger to a person, so the doctor must do everything to prevent the appearance of allergic manifestations in the future.

The problem of differential diagnosis of edema from the bite of the midges is not only to determine the allergen and its belonging (in the saliva of various insects contain different types of poisons), but also to identify other possible causes of an allergic reaction. So the appearance of urticaria on the body and other symptoms of allergies can be caused by the body’s reaction to food, household chemicals, medicines, herbs, etc. Therefore, it is very important to tell the doctor not only where the victim rested at the time of the bite, but what products or medications he used, especially if this happened for the first time. After all, two situations can simply overlap each other.

In case of allergic reactions and suspicion of wound infection, a blood test is assigned to the patient, which helps to determine the increase in the number of lymphocytes, indicating an inflammatory reaction, and to name the causative agents of the infectious process, which is necessary for the purpose of effective treatment.

[18], [19], [20], [21]

In principle, the trace from an insect bite in the forces is diagnosed not only by a specialist doctor. Even though the midge is an insect microscopic, which can be overlooked. But the very fact that midge rarely attack alone, speaks in favor of the fact that the victim with a high probability to calculate his tormentor.

About what to do and how to treat swelling after biting midges read in this article.

[22], [23], [24], [25], [26]


It is difficult to foresee how the body reacts to the bite of the midges, because even at people who did not complain earlier of an allergy, at some moment sensitization of the organism may occur. To avoid the unpleasant consequences of unsafe allergic reactions, you need to follow preventive measures that will avoid biting insects:

  • Going for a walk in the forest, to a pond or on fields with high and dense grass, you need to wear clothes that cover the skin of hands and feet as much as possible. Light clothing made of natural fabrics, despite the long sleeves and trousers, will not be burdensome even in hot weather. Plus, such a measure can protect against scratches of the skin by plants and active sunlight.
  • On especially hot days, a walk near the water seems attractive. In fact, such walks carry the risk of being bitten by insects, exhausted from heat, thirst and hunger. It is better to take rest in nature for another time.
  • The hardest thing is to protect the face from insects, and in fact the bites in this area are most painful and difficult (with bites in the eye, sometimes even you need to seek help from an ophthalmologist). To protect the face and body use special tools — repellents. Electrical appliances-repellents (electrofumigators) will help protect yourself from insects at home, and on nature you can take special sprays, sprayed on clothes, body, tents. Such sprays provide protection from insects usually for a period of 3-8 hours.
  • In household chemistry stores, you can purchase tools such as spirals or candles that are designed to repel insects in the open.
  • Fishermen for face protection can use special mosquito nets, similar to those used by beekeepers.
  • If you can not bite the midges yet, you should try not to comb the place of the bite, aggravating the situation by increasing the wound surface and infecting the wound. It is allowed to lightly stroke the bite site through the fabric.

As you can see, there is no need for special wisdom to protect yourself and your child while relaxing in nature from biting insects. Nevertheless, such simple measures will help make rest more enjoyable and protected, because the swelling from the bite of the midges and other manifestations of an allergic reaction to the saliva of the insect are a real danger to the person. So is it worth it to test fate?


The prognosis of a patient’s condition with swelling from a mosquito bite depends on the reaction of his body to the allergen introduced into the body with the saliva of the insect. With single bites, the situation most often does not pose a particular danger, but with multiple symptoms of allergy, the manifestations of intoxication may join and the victim’s well-being deteriorates noticeably.

But the worst forecast is still observed in the case of instant reactions of intolerance to the components of saliva of the insect, because such situations are fraught with the development of anaphylactic reactions. And in this case, even timely assistance does not guarantee a successful outcome. The only good news is that such situations are rare.

It must be said that the need to seek help from doctors for bite bugs does not always occur. Often enough alternative treatment and use of homeopathic remedies. But if the patient’s condition worsens within 1-2 days, and the area and severity of the edema increases, it is better for your own safety to seek help from specialists.

[27], [28]


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