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Insect bites and allergic reactions
Insect bites and allergic reactions are common occurrences that can cause discomfort and, in some cases, serious health concerns. In Dubai, the winter months from November to April see a rise in insect bites, which can lead to mild or severe allergic reactions for both residents and visitors.
It is essential to understand the types of insects responsible for these bites, the symptoms of allergic reactions, and the steps that can be taken to prevent and treat these occurrences. In this blog, we will explore the most common insects causing allergic reactions in Dubai, discuss prevention techniques, and delve into the various treatment options available to ensure the well-being of everyone in this bustling city.
A mother’s worst nightmare
In Dubai, several insects are known to cause allergic reactions in people. The most common among them are mosquitoes, sandflies, and ants. Let’s take a closer look at each of these insects:
These pesky insects are notorious for causing itchy bites and transmitting diseases such as dengue fever and malaria. In Dubai, the primary mosquito species responsible for allergic reactions are Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus. While the risk of mosquito-borne diseases is relatively low in Dubai, their bites can still cause localised redness, swelling, and itching, with some individuals experiencing more severe reactions.
Also known as biting midges or no-see-ums, sand flies are tiny, blood-sucking insects commonly found in sandy areas and near water sources. They can be particularly troublesome in Dubai’s coastal and desert regions. Sand fly bites can cause itchy, red bumps that may develop into small blisters. In some cases, individuals may experience a more severe allergic reaction to sandfly bites, leading to more intense symptoms.
Several species of ants are present in Dubai, but fire ants are most notorious for causing allergic reactions. Their sting injects a venom that can cause burning pain, redness, and swelling. In some cases, people may experience an allergic reaction to the venom, leading to symptoms such as hives, difficulty breathing, or even anaphylaxis in severe cases.
Tips: I remember the first time my little one got bitten by a mosquito; the reaction was mild, just a small red bump that itched a bit. But as time passed, I noticed that her reactions seemed to get worse with every subsequent insect bite. Concerned, I decided to do some research and discovered that it’s not uncommon for an individual’s reaction to insect bites to change over time.
The immune system can become more efficient at recognizing the allergen, leading to heightened reactions in some cases. On the other hand, some people might experience a decrease in their allergic reactions over time, either due to reduced sensitivity or successful desensitization treatments.
A rise in insect bites in cooler months
In Dubai, the winter months of November to April see a rise in insect bites, especially among people living in villa communities. Several factors contribute to this increase:
During the winter months, the weather in Dubai is more pleasant, with cooler temperatures and reduced humidity. This climate is more comfortable for people and conducive to increased insect activity, as the insects can thrive in these conditions.
With the arrival of the cooler season, residents and tourists tend to spend more time outdoors, engaging in activities such as barbecues, picnics, and sports. This increased exposure to natural environments heightens the likelihood of coming into contact with insects.
Landscaping and vegetation:
Villa communities in Dubai often feature lush gardens and landscaping, providing insects with ample breeding grounds and hiding places. The presence of plants and water features can attract insects like mosquitoes, sandflies, and ants.
Open windows and doors:
In winter, people tend to keep windows and doors open to enjoy the fresh air, inadvertently allowing insects to enter their homes. This increases the chances of encountering and being bitten by insects indoors.
Construction and urbanisation:
The continuous development and expansion of villa communities in Dubai can disrupt natural habitats and lead to increased insect populations in residential areas. Construction sites may also create temporary pools of standing water, which serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Increased travel and tourism:
During winter, Dubai sees an influx of tourists, who may unwittingly transport insects like mosquitoes in their luggage. This can contribute to the spread of insect populations in residential areas.
Simple techniques to keep the mozzies away
- To prevent insect bites in Dubai, especially during the winter months, employ a combination of strategies.
- Use insect repellents containing DEET or Picaridin on exposed skin, and wear light-coloured, long-sleeved clothing and pants to minimise skin exposure.
- Install screens on windows and doors to keep insects out, and eliminate standing water around your home to reduce mosquito breeding grounds.
- Maintain a clean outdoor environment, removing debris and trimming vegetation to discourage insect habitats.
- Avoid outdoor activities during peak insect activity times, such as dusk and dawn, and consider using mosquito nets when sleeping or resting outdoors.
What reactions do you get from an insect bite?
Allergic reactions to insect bites vary depending on the severity of the reaction
Oral antihistamines can help reduce itching, swelling, and redness caused by insect bites.
Over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams or calamine lotion can soothe itchiness and inflammation.
Applying a cold pack or a cloth dampened with cold water to the affected area can help alleviate swelling and discomfort.
For individuals experiencing anaphylaxis, or a severe allergic reaction, an epinephrine auto-injector (e.g., EpiPen) should be used immediately, followed by emergency medical care.
If you suspect a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, seek immediate medical attention. Emergency treatment may include oxygen, intravenous fluids, and additional medications such as corticosteroids or antihistamines.
NAET to the rescue
Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques (NAET) is a holistic approach that combines elements from various disciplines, including chiropractic, acupressure, kinesiology, and nutrition, to identify and treat allergies and sensitivities. NAET aims to desensitise individuals to specific allergens, including insect bites, by addressing energy imbalances in the body.
How NAET works in desensitising insect bite reactions:
Identifying the allergen:
Muscle response testing (MRT) or applied kinesiology is used to pinpoint the specific insect or allergen causing the reaction.
The practitioner then calms specific points along the body’s energy meridians to restore balance and clear any blockages in the energy flow. This step is intended to reprogram the body’s response to the allergen, eliminating the allergic reaction.
Depending on your needs, you may recommend nutritional supplements to support the body’s healing process and boost the immune system.
During the treatment process, the client is typically advised to avoid the allergen (in this case, the insect bite) for a specified period, typically 25 hours after the treatment. This allows the body to adapt and reset its response to the allergen. The treatment sessions are repeated several times until the reaction stops.
8 Tips for Allergy-Prone Visitors to Dubai
Allergy-prone visitors travelling to Dubai can take certain precautions to minimise their risk of experiencing allergic reactions, especially to insect bites. Here are some tips to help ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay:
Pack a travel medical kit:
Bring along any prescribed allergy medications, such as antihistamines or epinephrine auto-injectors, and over-the-counter treatments like hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion for mild reactions.
Choose appropriate accommodations:
Opt for accommodations with screened windows and air conditioning to reduce the risk of insect bites. Inquire about pest control measures the hotel or rental property takes to ensure a low-risk environment.
Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved clothing and pants to minimise skin exposure and deter insects. Consider treating clothes with permethrin, a clothing-safe insect repellent, for added protection.
Use insect repellent:
Apply an effective insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin on exposed skin, and reapply as directed to maintain protection.
Stay informed about local healthcare facilities:
Research nearby hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies in case of an emergency, and keep their contact information handy.
Obtain travel insurance that covers allergic reactions and related medical expenses, ensuring access to prompt and adequate medical care if necessary.
Communicate your allergies:
Inform your travel companions, hotel staff, and tour guides about your allergies, so they are aware of your needs and can assist you in case of an emergency.
Be cautious with food:
If you have food allergies, research local cuisine and ingredients, learn relevant phrases in the local language to communicate your allergies, and always carry an allergy card to show restaurant staff.
Mosquitoes, sand flies, and ants are the primary insects causing allergic reactions in Dubai.
Cooler temperatures, increased outdoor activities, lush landscaping, and open windows contribute to a rise in insect bites during winter.
Use insect repellents, wear protective clothing, maintain a clean outdoor environment, and avoid peak insect activity times.
Symptoms may include redness, swelling, itching, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing or anaphylaxis.
Apply topical creams, take oral antihistamines, and use cold compresses to alleviate symptoms.
Seek immediate medical help for severe reactions or if mild symptoms persist, worsen, or you are unsure about the severity.
Pack prescribed allergy medications, over-the-counter treatments, and consider travel insurance that covers allergic reactions.
While the risk is low, some mosquito species can transmit diseases like dengue fever and malaria.
Use child-safe insect repellents, dress children in protective clothing, and use mosquito nets for sleeping or resting outdoors.
A resounding yes for insect bite allergies. It requires multiple session to desensitise the reactions.
Are you tired of seeing your child suffer from insect bite allergies?
Don’t let your child’s allergies hold them back any longer. Get in touch with us today and let us guide you and your child toward a future free from the discomfort and worry of insect bite allergies. Together, we can make a difference!