We have all been bitten by mosquitoes before. We all know that mosquitoes are dangerous, and we should be careful of their bites. But one question remains – why do mosquito bites itch? Here is everything you need to know about mosquito bites.
Why mosquito bites itch
Do you know that only female mosquitoes bite? They are the only ones who have the stingers to pierce through your skin. And you can be certain that they will bite you. Your blood has proteins and other nutrients that they need to reproduce.
But why do mosquito bites itch? Mosquito bites are itchy because female mosquitoes inject some of their saliva into you as they pierce through your skin. Their saliva contains proteins. The problem with these proteins is that your body may treat them as foreign substances that need to be eliminated quickly. Your immune system will fight off the proteins, causing itching, inflammation, swelling, and other allergic reaction symptoms.
Your immune system tries to eliminate these proteins through your white blood cells. A compound known as histamine helps transport these white blood cells to the affected area. Histamine is known as being the cause of itching and other symptoms. This is the reason why there is such a thing as an antihistamine. These medicines help suppress histamine and its effects on your body.
Of course, everything depends on the person – some people may have mosquito bites and not feel any discomfort at all. Some will find mosquito bites extremely uncomfortable and some may even decide that mosquito bites are a medical emergency.
Mosquito bite itch remedies
There are two kinds of mosquito bite itch remedies you can try: proven traditional remedies that you can find in pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, and the like, and home remedies – that are not necessarily proven, but may work as a temporary solution. You will find these home remedies in your kitchen or your nearest grocery store.
- Antihistamine. Histamine is the compound that creates the itching sensation. Take an over-the-counter antihistamine to control the histamine in your body and its effects like itching.
- Benzocaine or lidocaine ointment. Benzocaine and lidocaine are numbing agents. This means they can help ease the itchiness of your mosquito bites. You can find them in ointment form.
- Calamine lotion. Calamine lotion is good for itchiness, especially for those that come from skin irritations. The great thing about calamine lotion is that it’s widely available over-the-counter.
- Corticosteroid cream. Corticosteroid cream will not just help with the itchiness. it will also ease inflammation, another symptom you can get from mosquito bites.
When taking these traditional remedies, remember to listen to your doctor or pharmacist and read the instructions on the label. They can be dangerous and ineffective if you don’t take them properly.
- Ice. Ice is a good natural numbing agent. It will help not just with the itchiness of your mosquito bites. It will also help with the pain; in case you have any on the affected areas. To be safe, avoid pressing ice directly into your skin. Wrap the ice in a bag or cloth and press this bag or cloth on your skin instead.
- Lemon. Lemon is a common home remedy for a lot of things. You can even use it to kill pests, for example. Lemon is such a great home remedy because it is a natural anesthetic and antiseptic. Slice a disc of lemon and press it on the affected area. But be careful of skin irritations, especially on prolonged application.
- Oatmeal. Mix oatmeal and water in a bowl. Dunk a cloth in the bowl and let it suck in some of the oatmeal-water. Then press it on the affected areas. Oatmeal can help relieve itching not just for mosquito bites, but also for skin conditions like eczema.
- Vinegar. Use apple cider vinegar diluted in water. Damp a cloth with it and press the cloth on the affected areas. Even though vinegar is a good home remedy with a lot of uses, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s acidic and may be harmful to your skin on prolonged application. Be careful in using this home remedy.
When using home remedies, always be wary of allergies and skin irritations. If you feel like something isn’t quite right – for example if the itch seems to be worsening – ditch the home remedy you are using and try something else. It’s not a bad idea to switch to traditional remedies too.
When to see a doctor for your mosquito bites
There are instances where traditional and home remedies wouldn’t be very effective. For example, we all know that mosquito bites can result in life-threatening diseases, like dengue. But there is another life-threatening condition that you should look out for – anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is an extreme allergic reaction that can potentially kill the victim.
If the victim experiences the symptoms of anaphylaxis – difficulty breathing and/or the swelling of the throat – ditch the other remedies and seek medical attention immediately!
How to avoid mosquito bites
Yes, mosquito bites itch. And it’s a good thing that there are a lot of traditional and home remedies for them. But it’s still better to avoid mosquito bites altogether. This way, you won’t have to deal with the consequences of getting bitten by mosquitoes. Here are some things you can do:
- Keep your surroundings clean. Do you know that there are a lot of potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes around your property? Give particular attention to the stagnant water in your garden, lawn, and yard.
- Get rid of the mosquitoes on your property. If there are few or no mosquitoes around your property, you are less likely to get bitten by mosquitoes. Get rid of the pests in your property by spraying insecticides or using mosquito traps.
- Make yourself unattractive to mosquitoes. Apply lotions that contain DEET, a compound that repels mosquitoes. If you are not comfortable applying compounds on your skin, you can also just cover up, especially during night-time. Cover your arms, legs, and every piece of skin you can. You can also cover your sleeping area with a mosquito net.