ZocdocAnswersWhy do insect bites itch?

Question

Why do insect bites itch?

No matter what it is it itches so much. Am I very sensitive to insect bites?

Answer

Insect bites itch for the majority of people that have them, but there could be a chance that you are more susceptible to the itch and annoyance, especially if you have allergies or other skin reactions to common things that you encounter. If you feel that this is the case, you can make an appointment with an allergist to have your skin tested for some of the many environmental exposures that surround you. Otherwise, the body responds to the bite of many insects the same way that it responds to any allergen that affects people with seasonal allergies. It recognizes the venom or bacteria that is present in the bite (which bacteria are usually on the surface of the skin, in many cases, and are just afforded an opportunity to get into your body because of the bite), and then causes a release of local factors that cause the itching, swelling, and redness that are so common. This local reaction is the result of the body trying to fight the supposed invasion, and is sometimes an inappropriately aggressive response to what the body perceives to be a threat. This can be so serious, in some people, that they can have an anaphylactic reaction and have difficulty breathing. Please talk to your doctor if your are concerned about your reactivity to bites.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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