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Midge Bites: Allergies, Treatments and Prevention


midge bites

Did you know that midge bites cause allergic reactions? The redness and itchy feeling you get after a midge bite are actually an allergic reaction caused by the chemicals midges release when they bite you! If you suffer from constant midge bites and want to know how to prevent and repel midges, you’ve come to the right place.


This guide takes you through each stage of getting a midge bite. From what happens when you get bitten to an allergy to midge bites, treatment, and prevention, find out everything you need to know about handling midge bites right here. 


  • What are Midges?
  • What Do Midge Bites Look Like?
  • What Causes the Reaction to a Midge Bite?
  • How to Treat Midge Bites
  • How to Prevent Midge Bites and Repel Midges
  • Prepare Yourself For Midge Bites with Home Health

What are Midges?

Midges are not one type of fly; they are actually many different species of tiny flies. They can also be categorised as biting or non-biting midges. In Scotland alone, there are over 35 different species of biting midges. 


Fun fact: only female midges bite! This is because they need blood to reproduce. With cutting teeth that can break your skin, female midges extract your blood and pump it into their bodies. This is why female midges might sometimes look red in colour compared to male midges that are brown. 


It might seem like these tiny files, which can only grow to 1/8th of an inch, wouldn’t cause much harm to a human, but depending on the person, they can cause both minor and serious allergic reactions. 

What Do Midge Bites Look Like?

Midge bites are typically seen in a cluster of red dots, which are caused by the irritation from the bite. When a midge bites you, it causes a small puncture in your skin and releases chemicals from its saliva that may cause irritation and a minor allergic reaction. 


However, if you are allergic to midge bites, you might experience different types of midge bite allergic reactions. 

Minor Allergic Reactions

This is the typical allergic reaction to a midge bite you might experience. This type of reaction is only minor as your allergy to midge bites is not serious. You should not experience too much discomfort. These symptoms are normally focused on the site of the bite. Some symptoms of a minor reaction include:


  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Itchiness 
  • Irritation 


These symptoms should disappear after about a week. 

Localised Allergic Reactions

Local midge bite allergic reactions occur around the area of a bite. The symptoms of this type of allergic reaction include: 


  • Hives or Urticaria 
  • Redness and Swelling 
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny Nose
  • Sneezing 
  • Intense Itching


These symptoms are slightly more serious than minor allergic reaction symptoms, so they can be treated with over-the-counter treatments such as itch relief cream and antihistamines. Any symptoms should gradually fade after about a week. 

Systemic Allergic Reactions

A systemic allergic reaction is a type of allergic reaction that can spread to other parts of the body. These symptoms can include the ones mentioned previously, but there are other symptoms, such as:


  • Nausea
  • Tummy Ache
  • Wheezing 
  • Asthma symptoms might also flare during this type of reaction 

Severe Allergic Reaction: Anaphylaxis 

This is the most severe type of allergic reaction. If you think you or someone else if suffering from an anaphylaxis shock, you will need to contact 999 immediately. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include: 


  • Shortness of breath, fast breathing or wheezing 
  • Feeling Faint 
  • Clammy Skin
  • Feeling Sick 
  • Fast Heartbeat 

What Causes the Reaction to a Midge Bite?

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system alerts your body to unknown substances. In the case of a midge bite, the midge releases chemicals into the bloodstream when they bite you. This is what causes the allergic reaction. 


The symptoms of a midge bite are your body’s way of eliminating foreign chemicals. This is why a severe allergic reaction presents itself more seriously, as your body overreacts to these chemicals. 

How to Treat Midge Bites

The discomfort and irritation you might experience from a midge bite can be easily tackled. Some examples of the best treatments for mosquito and midge bites in the UK include: 

  • Using a Damp Washcloth: You can soak a washcloth in cold water to relieve the itch. 
  • Using Ice to Soothe the Area: After washing the area of the bite, you can soothe it with a cold pack or ice wrapped in a washcloth. 
  • Antihistamines: You could take antihistamines to reduce the allergic reaction symptoms and make them more manageable. 
  • Itch Relief Creams: If your bite is quite itchy, you could use itch relief creams to soothe the bite and manage the itchy feeling. 
  • Antiseptic Creams: Antiseptic creams are a great option if you accidentally scratch your bite and break the skin. 

How to Prevent Midge Bites and Repel Midges

With an increase in the number of midges in Scotland in recent years, it’s best to prepare yourself for midges wherever you go this summer! Here are our top tips for preventing midge bites.

  • Avoid Midge Breeding Areas: Midges love areas such as marshes and ponds, so it is best to avoid these areas. Otherwise, you might find yourself leaving with many midge bites. 
  • Stay Inside During Active Times: Midges are most active during dusk and dawn. To avoid getting bitten, avoid any midge breeding areas during these times. 
  • Wear Insect Repellent: Check for insect repellent that contains the DEET chemical, as this chemical is known to repel insects. If you are particularly sensitive to DEET, there are other alternatives available. 
  • Cover Up: Wearing clothes that cover your skin can deter midges from biting you. Especially if you find yourself out during active times, you should use something to cover any exposed skin to avoid midge bites. 

Prepare Yourself For Midge Bites with Home Health

Although midge bites are not typically serious or harmful, they can be irritating and uncomfortable. At Home Health, we offer a range of treatments to help you manage your midge bites. From itch relief cream to antihistamines, tackle unwanted midge bites this summer with Home Health. 


Are midge bites an allergic reaction?

Even symptoms such as irritation and swelling around the bite are symptoms of an allergy to midge bites. There is no need to worry if this is the case, as this is only a minor allergic reaction caused by the chemicals midges release when they bite you.

What is the best treatment for mosquito bites in the UK?

There are a number of treatments for mosquito and midge bites that we recommend. A few examples include: 


  • Soothing the area with ice
  • Using itch relief cream
  • Taking antihistamine tablets

How can I stop being bitten by midges?

The best ways to stop being bitten by midges are:


  • Avoiding midge breeding areas such as marshes and ponds 
  • Staying inside during dusk and dawn as this is an active time for midges
  • Wear insect repellent to deter any midges
  • Covering up when you’re out in midge breeding areas to avoid any exposed skin being bitten. 

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