Mosquito bites are one of the annoying things we experience. Other than the little prick we feel when mosquitos bite, it also leaves a red bump on our skin which eventually becomes itchy. When you get bitten by a mosquito then you start scratching, did it ever crossed your mind why mosquito bites itch?
Only the female mosquitoes bite because they use blood to make eggs. There are few things that happen when a mosquito bites you. First, it uses all its feeding stylets to prick your skin. These styles include a pair of maxillae and a pair of mandibles. After piercing through your skin, it will search for a blood vessel and will start draining it off. Though mosquitoes are small, they are able to suck forcefully which can make the tiny blood vessels collapse or rupture. While mosquitoes suck your blood, their saliva is pumped into your body.
Mosquitoes’ saliva acts as an anticoagulant. It helps prevent your blood from clotting on the spot where you are bitten. It also helps mosquitoes to feed quickly before you notice them stealing your blood. Specifically, saliva is the main reason why mosquito bites itch. You get an allergic reaction from it which results in an itchy bump on your skin.
How does mosquitoes’ saliva make our skin itch? Their saliva contains proteins and enzymes which bypass our bodies’ natural coagulation system resulting in an allergic reaction to our body. Our body’s immune system releases histamines which respond to these allergens. According to some scientists, the first mosquito bites we receive introduced the allergens to our body which made us sensitive to the components of the mosquito’s saliva. This causes our body to send immunoglobulins to the mosquito bite. Immunoglobulins are responsible for breaking down tissues and mast cells which release histamines that cause our skin to itch. Mast cells are helpful in healing wounds, however, they can cause allergic reactions and inflammations. These histamines, on the other hand, can be combatted with antihistamines which stop the itching.
Knowing why mosquito bites itch, however, will not stop us from scratching once it becomes itchy. Though, scratching these bites will make them become itchier and might lead to breaking the skin. When the skin breaks, dirt and other contaminants might enter the wound and might cause infection. If you can’t stand the annoying itchy feeling on your skin, here are some ways on how you can stop it.
- Let it heal: Mosquito bites can heal on its own. Try not to scratch them because it will only make the skin irritation worse and make the healing process longer. When you get a mosquito bite, try to focus on other things that will make you forget about it. That way, it will lessen your idea of scratching it.
- Clean the area of the bite: Once you notice that you have a mosquito bite, clean it as soon as possible. This can help it to heal faster. You can use baby wipes, or something similar to alcohol. But don’t use too much as it can lead to irritating the skin more.
- Use itch creams: You can find different itch creams and lotions in pharmacies and other stores. Antihistamine creams or lotions can help stop the itching and irritation of mosquito bites.
- Apply honey: Honey also has an antiseptic and antibacterial ingredient which helps in healing wounds. It can help reduce the inflammation of mosquito bites. However, do not wear it outside because its sweetness can attract more mosquitoes.
- Take an oatmeal bath: Oatmeal contains properties which can help soothe insect bites and allergic reactions. You can add it to your bath, or you can also make an oatmeal paste and put it on the mosquito bite. You can leave it on your skin for fifteen minutes then rinse it well. Also, don’t forget to moisturize your skin after.
Though there are lots of home remedies you can try to stop mosquito bites from itching, there are also some which you should avoid. Some treatments can only increase skin irritation such as baking soda, lemon, lime juice, toothpaste, and vinegar.
Mosquito bites can last for a few hours up to a few days. The length of time can vary depending on the size of the bite, and the immune system of the person bitten. Some people who have sensitive skins may also notice some small dark marks left on their skin once the itching subsides. To avoid these, try using creams with vitamin C or E. Aside from itching, mosquitoes also carry some diseases which can be transferred to us when they bite. Some of the known diseases are malaria, dengue, chikungunya, encephalitis, and yellow fever.
It’s kind of tough to stop mosquito bites from itching that’s why preventing to be bitten is one of the best ways to avoid it. One great way is using insect repellants especially when you are traveling to different places. You can also limit the risk of mosquito bites by avoiding being exposed to the things that attract them such as, sweat and body odor, heat, dirty places, lactic acid, and carbon dioxide.
Now that you know why mosquito bites itch, try to create ways on how to lower the population of mosquitoes, such as cleaning the environment, so you can enjoy spending more time outdoors.