If you’ve ever been bitten by a mosquito, you know how bad it can sting. After a few minutes, redness in the area appears and your skin feels incredibly itchy. Why is that? What causes mosquito bites to itch?
To better understand the problem, it’s important to know what goes on in the body following a mosquito bite. Acting quickly prevents the itchiness from worsening and causing you further discomfort. Let’s take a look at mosquito saliva’s toll on the skin, shall we?
Public Enemy #1 is Mosquito Saliva
The main culprit behind itchy mosquito bites is mosquito saliva. The substance releases through the feeding stylets used to pierce your skin. While the mosquito sucks your blood, its salivary glands go into overdrive. It can get what it wants from you that way.
Mosquito saliva is an anticoagulant which allows the pest to feast upon your body rapidly. In order to get the nourishment the mosquito needs to survive, it must act quickly. After all, how many of the insects survive being swatted at? Few live to see the light of day once they’re discovered sucking the life force out of your shoulders, arms, and legs.
Still, it doesn’t explain that relentless itch that comes from the welted skin on your body. The reason why it feels so unbearable is that you’re allergic to the saliva. You are now producing histamines which take connective tissue and mast cells and break them down. The itch is a side effect of the process and best treated with an antihistamine.
The Best Ways to Prevent and Treat Mosquito Bites
Among the most effective ways to prevent mosquito bites is to remove all sources of standing water in your yard and to wear insect repellant whenever you spend time outdoors. Covering your body with lightweight clothing helps as does investing in citronella candles and torches for your patio or deck. Being invested in the prevention of mosquitoes prevents you from being bitten and covered in mosquito bites. It also keeps the blood of other people and animals from intermingling with yours after being attacked by the pests.
If you’ve been bitten by a mosquito and see inflammation setting in, there are some things you can do to take the sting out of the bite. If you don’t have an OTC antihistamine available (always check with your doctor first regarding which medications you can take), you can try making a paste out of baking soda and water to apply to the skin (also, confirm with your doctor). It, along with fruits such as pineapple and papaya, can be used to remove the sting from a blood-sucking insect such as a mosquito.
Olive oil and vinegar are two common pantry items that effectively treat bug bites. Applying a small amount of one or the other substance to a cotton ball and placing it on the welt provides you with fast relief. You’ll feel less itchy thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil and the acidity in vinegar. It’s two options that are there if you’re in a pinch and itching like crazy because of all the histamine your body has produced to protect you.
Take Action Quickly to Prevent Being Itchy and Miserable All Day
Now that you know what causes mosquito bites to itch, you can do things to prevent yourself from being bitten by the insects. You’ll also be able to effectively treat the inflamed areas of skin affected by the saliva. That way, you feel less inclined to scratch that itch and heal faster from the mosquito bite. You’ll be able to go outdoors and feel protected by your fast thinking and extensive new knowledge about effective mosquito bite treatments.