Mosquito biting skin

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Mosquito bites

Although most mosquito bites are harmless and do not carry the risk of serious illnesses, the United States has seen a dramatic increase in annual reports of mosquito-borne diseases. In particular these include viruses spread by certain mosquito species like West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

A person’s chance of becoming ill from a single mosquito bite remains relatively low. Nevertheless, you should always ensure that you take the appropriate steps necessary to prevent mosquitoes from biting you and your family thus reducing the risks in being infected by a serious vector-borne disease.

Find out the answers to these questions and more below:

  • What do mosquito bites look like?
  • What are mosquito bite symptoms?
  • How do I get rid of mosquito bites?
  • Why do mosquito bites itch?

The best remedy for mosquito bites is not to be bitten at all, of course. If you contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control service, we can discuss how to get rid of mosquitoes around your property and prevent them from coming back. Enjoy your home and yard free of mosquitoes.

What do mosquito bites look like?

Female mosquitoes are attracted to us by our body heat, the carbon dioxide in our breath, perspiration on our skin and even our body odor. They are capable of travelling between 1 - 2 miles in search of a blood meal.

Male mosquitoes feed on nectar and plant juices because their mouth parts are not designed for piercing skin and feeding on protein.

Common mosquito bite symptoms

  • Itchy Red Bumps - Visible red bumps that are itchy and that appear on the surface of your skin after a female mosquito has punctured the skin with her thin proboscis to feed on your blood in order to use the protein from the blood to produce eggs.

  • Swelling - Mosquito saliva contains proteins, digestive enzymes and an anticoagulant that prevents our blood from clotting. The protein in their saliva provokes an immune response from your body, namely the redness, swelling and bump, which is what makes a mosquito bite itch so much.

Why do mosquito bites itch?

Have you ever wondered why mosquito bites itch? Mosquito bites itch because when you're bitten by a mosquito, your body reacts by producing histamine to fight the bite. Your body determines the mosquito saliva in your system is a foreign object and it must be removed. The histamine causes a bump to form in the affected area which irritates nerves, causing an itchy feeling. Some may experience more intensified symptoms. This may mean that they are one of the few that have allergic reactions to mosquito bites.

The swelling will usually subside as the immune cells in your body break down the foreign agents in the blood stream and generally disappear before the itching does.

How to get rid of mosquito bites

Reaction to bites will vary from person to person. Symptoms that develop are just our immune system’s response to their saliva. Mosquitoes don’t actually inject a virus directly into us when they bite, unless the mosquito has become a carrier for a virus and then it gets into their saliva. Below are some mosquito bite remedy suggestions that will help the mosquito bite stop itching and heal.

  • Clean the wound - this is the most important treatment for a mosquito or midge bite.

  • Use an ice pack - swelling can be reduced immediately after a bite by covering it with a ice pack such as ice in a cloth (but never hold ice directly on the skin). It may take more than a week to go down and may remain itchy for several days.

  • Take antihistamines - itchiness and swelling can be relieved with anti-histamine creams for bites and stings. Oral antihistamine can also help especially if you have multiple bites.

  • Do not scratch - avoid scratching as this will increase the itch and could lead to the bite becoming infected by bacteria.

Mosquito bite reactions

Most of the time the mosquito bite reactions people have are mild and not a cause for concern. However, there are people who may have a more severe reaction to the bites and these must be taken seriously. There are some who may suffer from a mosquito bite allergy or a general allergy to bites and stings. Young children and those with repeated bites are more likely to develop a severe reaction.

Consult a doctor if:

  • The swelling or pain is so severe that it prevents movement or sleeping.

  • The swelling continues to worsen more than a day after the bite.

  • The bite appears to be infected.

Why do mosquitoes bite?

Here’s a interesting fact for you, did you know that only female mosquitoes bite? Male mosquitoes don’t depend on our blood to grow and feed only on nectar from flowers.

Female mosquitoes bite to fill themselves with a cocktail of our blood. Our blood is abundant in protein and other compounds that female mosquitoes need to help produce and grow their eggs.

A mosquito injects her saliva into the wound when she bites you. Mosquito saliva contains an anticoagulant which helps the blood to flow smoothly while also making sure the host is completely unaware of the activity, allowing the mosquito to feed without being disrupted. 

How can I prevent mosquito bites?

Here are two things you can do to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when going outside to cover the areas in which a mosquito can bite you. Also, applying insect repellent will help keep them away.

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