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CLL Support Association
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Do you suffer badly from mosquito bites?

It seems that many of us are more susceptible to worse reactions from mosquito bites after we develop CLL.

Do you suffer more or less from insect bites than you did prior to your CLL diagnosis? What do you find helps you to avoid mosquito bites?

I used to get large wheals from ant, bee and mosquito bites that would take a week to resolve but that seems to be no longer the case. Not sure if it has improved with age or because my ability to generate an allergic response has been dampened by my CLL.

This article by Cameron Webb, Clinical Lecturer and Principal Hospital Scientist at University of Sydney, Australia provides some helpful insights into what attracts mosquitoes. It also includes the important warning for us that even if we don't feel that we are being bitten when others near us are complaining about mosquitoes biting them, we probably are - but are not aware of it. So don't stint on protective measures. (This article was probably prompted by the large number of barbies (barbeques) that will be held on Australia Day today - they usually attract mosquitoes..).



Photo: Wetlands have some cute inhabitants and some not so cute - like mosquitoes

11 Replies

Hi Neil,

So far, knock on wood, I have not had any problems from insect or arachnid bites. In the last couple of years we are witnessing an invasion of ticks and I have had a few engorged on me. No reactions. My wife on the other hand who does not have CLL looks the part of an abused spouse after a few hours in the garden.



As an angler mosquitos and midges have always been a hazard while fishing the evening rise at dusk. Before CLL I was bitten constantly a necessary inconvenience with little consequence other than the irritating itch causing you to revisit the site

Since CLL diagnosis, i now react quite badly with overreactions and swellings and infections causing the need for antibiotics and steroid cream to dampen them down .

Long trousers tucked into my socks and my wife's scented hand cream on my face are a necessity now when fishing and the late night rise is an early night home these days.



I lived in India for a year and did use B 12 supplements and Jungle Juice as a repellent plus copious garlic in food and never noticed any bites although my UK visitors did despite being on anti malarial drugs.

Interestingly though I was diagnosed with CLL on my return from UK after contracting campylobacter which did not respond to treatment. Wonder if it is a case of chicken and egg and I had CLL before diagnosis so my system could not respond to the meds to cure Camplyobacter which incidentally was caught be eating chicken rice!

Further to previous discussion on CLEAR trial phase two is only to pick up the missing categories of people that were missing from Phase One or so I have been told so it is just to complete the data set. M


Mosquito bites never troubled me much in the past, but do now. I reacted badly several times in the summer. I can't really avoid the mozzies as we have a pond in the garden, but I do spray to discourage them. One lump on my arm swelled up and reddened badly, and took a fortnight to disappear.


Hello Neil

from 2007 i was forever having bad reactions to insect bites which,at that time i had retired and moved to the countryside,but it was not till 2009 that a young GP sent me for a blood test.

The following day my life changed and a quick visit to the cancer centre gave me the news.CLL which would need treatment in the near future.

Myself and wife moved home,to be nearer a hospital,and waited. FCR followed August 2010. Since then i have had many bites which have needed antibiotics although i never felt one bite.

Now living in cool N,Yorkshire.when the sun shines i use tropical strength deet spray

regards Bob


Hmm, so I suspect that you might think that your sudden onset of bad reactions may have coincided with the onset of your CLL? Might be something in that.

Interesting - and a warning to others, to read your observation that you get bites that get infected enough to need antibiotics - but don't feel them. No wonder you use tropical strength DEET spray! I presume you are doing well in remission - five years this year. Sounds also like the FCR has reduced your immunity so that you are more susceptible to skin infections from bites?

Thanks for sharing your experiences,




I have always attracted anything that bites and have quite often required antibiotics to clear them. Not sure it can get worse because of CCL but I will definitely take more care. Thanks for the post.



Mosquitoes don't seem to like me ... for lunch. The season here in Louisiana runs from spring to late fall, and there's a major anti-mosquito effort. My wife gets bitten a lot more often.

But I had major trouble with chiggers this past summer.


The bites itched for more than a month! It's a different sort of bite, I though.

Skin apparently has and a unique distribution of lymphocytes:


I admit to understanding maybe a quarter of that. I do understand the part that says:

"However, despite their association with a wide array of skin pathologies, the phenotypic and functional attributes of skin B cells remain unknown."



Ive always been allergic to anything (insect types) that is that bites, also to penicillin and anti tetanus.and to some plants on contact. I have suffered with excema for most of my life. Since CLL and I've noticed after chemo too mosquito bites reaction is worse lasting many days of painful itching and swollen tissues. I have been extra carful this year and do not venture out at dusk and or dawn. And now I have a mosquito net around my bed incase any stray female mossie has managed to get in. So far so good this summer. I use an Aussie product Bushman 40% deet if necessary.

One thing I have noticed is that my finger nails grow faster than ever before and they don't split like they used too. Quite amazing.

38c here today in Perth WA and yesterday. Several bush fires raging close to residences.

Not me but a friends south of Perth.

Four month check up today...bloods OK...so steady as she goes till next time

Sheila in Fremantle


I've so been enjoying a cooler January after a very hot start - 45C! Sounds like more hot weather is on the way - thanks :( .


"Wearing a wrist band won’t provide “whole body” protection... nothing works as well as topical repellents, especially those containing either DEET or picaridin, in beating the bite of mosquitoes", according to Cameron Webb and the Department of Medical Entomology (NSW Health pathology and University of Sydney), who have been engaged by a wide range of insect repellent and insecticide manufacturers to provide testing of products and provide expert advice on mosquito biology.



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