Once Bitten, Twice Shy: How to Stop Mosquito Bites from Itching

There are few things as irritating as trying to sleep with that constant buzzing hovering around your ears. We sometimes spend hours and hours trying to squash mosquitoes, to no avail.

Eventually, we fall asleep and wake up to red bumps all across our bodies, torturing us with a never-ending itch we have no choice but to scratch. It’s important to figure out how to stop mosquito bites from itching and spare yourself the irritation.

Here is all you need to know about mosquitoes, why they enjoy sucking our blood, and why their bite itches so. With this knowledge, you’ll be better prepared to fight this menace.

What Are Mosquitoes?

Considered to be a type of fly, mosquitoes are known for their irritating buzzing and itchy bites. Contrary to popular belief, the mosquito does not actually feed on blood. Both males and females feed on nectar from fruits. However, the females require blood in order for their bodies to produce viable eggs. The blood they drink ensures that they have sufficient protein and iron levels for the production of those eggs.

Mosquitoes are drawn to our body heat, scent, or even the carbon dioxide we exhale. All this helps them to find their prey. When a blood-sucking mosquito lands, she jabs two tubes into your skin. One tube is used to suck the blood, while the second tube is used to inject enzymes into your body to avoid blood clots.

We all know the fact that mosquitoes carry various deadly illnesses and pass them on from one person to another. They have been known to assist in the spread of malaria, the West Nile virus, yellow fever, encephalitis, dengue, and filariasis.

What Causes a Mosquito to Bite You?

Studies have found that some people get bitten much more often than others, and certain people are passed over by mosquitoes completely. These studies found that the reason for this has a lot to do with the odors your body emits. Some people give off a smell that naturally repels mosquitoes or masks the odors they are usually drawn to.

What Makes a Mosquito Bite Itch

The enzymes and saliva injected into your skin while the mosquito is drawing blood trigger a reaction by your immune system. Your body starts producing antibodies to fight this invasion, which causes your cells to release histamines. This causes the blood vessels to swell and a red itchy bump to form, which irritates the nerves.

As soon as you start scratching, however, even more histamines are released. This causes the area to itch even more. But don’t worry – there are a few ways you can find relief.

How to Stop Mosquito Bites from Itching:

As they say, prevention is the best cure. Always try to keep yourself from getting mosquito bites if at all possible. But if they have already taken a bite, try these ways to stop the itch:

  • Calamine Lotion

Try putting calamine lotion on the bumps to help relieve itching.

  • Hydrocortisone

This will also help to lessen itching and it assists in the healing process. Apply at least twice a day.

  • Ice

Apply a block of ice to the itchy bump. This should kill the itch right away.

  • Rubbing Alcohol

Alcohol clears up the proteins from the mosquito’s saliva, which in effect is the reason why you experience itching. But alcohol may dry out your skin, so be sure to apply a bit of lotion after you try this treatment. Perhaps one can choose a lotion that is infused with aloe vera.

  • Antihistamine

An oral antihistamine will basically switch off the histamine response our bodies go for when we get bitten. This will reduce itching.

  • Baking Soda

Known to be quite an effective sunburn cure, baking soda in a bath or even in a little paste will assist with itch relief. Remember that, like alcohol, it may make your skin a bit dry, so be sure to apply lotion as well.

How to Avoid Getting Bitten by a Mosquito

No treatment can defeat the itching entirely, so you should do all you can to avoid getting bitten, or rather stabbed, by mosquitoes. Try to rid your home of them as much as possible. If that is not possible, you can try various ways to at least repel them to keep them at bay. The following methods may help:

  • Eliminate Standing Water

Try to eliminate standing water sources in and around your home. Mosquitoes use water to breed, so limit these breeding pools in order to reduce the number of mosquitoes around the home. Ensure that your drains are unclogged and there are no open pots or bottles that can collect water where they may be able to breed.

  • Window Screen

Install mesh screens over your windows and make sure your existing screens are tear-free.

  • Mosquito Nets

If you have many mosquitoes in your home, install a mosquito net over your bed to ensure they do not enter your sleeping space.

  • Use a Repellent

There are several types of repellents available on the market, such as burning coils, Citronella oils or candles, spray-on repellents, or mosquito repellent sticks.

  • Permethrin

This is also a type of repellent which you can apply to your clothing instead of your skin.

  • Protective Gear

Try to cover your body up as much as the weather permits it, with long sleeves and trousers and even a beanie or balaclava to protect your face.

Protect Yourself

Remember that mosquitoes can do more than leave a harmless, though irritating, red mark.

Mosquitoes are known to spread disease. We can try to limit their presence as much as humanly possible but chances are they will pull a sneak attack on us.

So it’s clear we need to protect ourselves against the diseases that are spread by mosquitoes. Taking an antihistamine will help your body fight the symptoms of a mosquito bite. If you’re planning to go into territories where certain diseases spread by mosquitoes are common, be sure to receive the necessary vaccinations from your local clinic or physician.

 

 

References:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/group/mosquitoes/
https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/mosquitoes.html
https://newsroom.clevelandclinic.org/2017/06/23/dont-scratch-that-mosquito-bite/

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