Mosquito Bites 


Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Why do mosquitoes bite?

Mosquito bites are generally associated with inflammation and redness associated with itching.  A mosquito bite is one that has been experienced by each and every individual on this planet.  This has been going on from the beginning of our existence and we have learned to live with them.  The inflammation and redness associated with a mosquito bite generally subside within a few hours.

A certain group of people may experience inflammation and redness that is extensive and may involve an entire part of the body.  This type of redness and inflammation is called skeeter syndrome and it generally affects children.  On the other hand, mosquitoes are also known to cause deadly diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis and in few cases transmit West Nile virus.

Let us get an understanding of these mosquitoes first.  It should be noted that only female mosquitoes bite humans and the male mosquitoes generally prefer plant juices.  Stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and their life generally revolves around places that have stagnant water.  They tend to rest on plants and grasses but breed only in stagnant water.

Female adult mosquitoes can live up to 42 to 56 days whereas the male adult mosquitoes can live for only 10 days.  A female adult mosquito breeds during this lifetime and can lay up to 500 eggs during their lifetime.  The bottom line is that this mosquito breeding can occur only in the presence of stagnant water and if this is not available, you could see a drastic reduction in their numbers.

Causes of mosquito bite reactions

As discussed earlier, it is the female mosquito that bites humans.  Female mosquitoes have a mouthpart (proboscis) that is used to pierce the skin and suck the blood.  This is exclusive for female mosquitoes only since they require protein to produce eggs.

This is absent in the male mosquitoes and they do not bite humans.  When a female mosquito bites, its saliva is released into the human blood.  The mosquito’s saliva contains an anticoagulant which prevents the blood from clotting.  The proteins present in the saliva causes increased histamine production from the immune system leading to the reaction such as redness, inflammation, and itching.

It is not clearly understood how a female mosquito selects its prey, but it is estimated that the body odor produced by the sweat is one of the main reasons a female mosquito selects its prey.

Signs and Symptoms of Mosquito Bites

A mosquito bite produces generally the following signs and symptoms:

  • A reddish bump appears within a few minutes after the bite.
  • The reddish bump is generally associated with itching.
  • Bumps could transform into small blisters.
  • Dark spots like bruises may appear after a day or two.

A more severe reaction is experienced by a few people who may be having immune system disorders such as:

  • Inflammation and redness that can be extensive and include a complete part of the body.
  • Mild fever.
  • Urticaria or hives may appear on the bite area.
  • It can also lead to swelling of the lymph nodes.

Children seem to be the one who develops severe reactions since it may the first time their body is experiencing a mosquito bite.

Complications associated with mosquito bites

Mosquito bites are generally harmless but may cause problems as they are known to carry and transmit deadly diseases.  Some of the complications associated with a mosquito bite are discussed below.

Malaria

Plasmodium parasite causes malaria and is transmitted by mosquitoes.  This is a life-threatening disease that destroys red blood cells.  Symptoms generally include fever and sweating, body pain, night sweats, and shivering.  Early diagnosis is crucial for treatment and prognosis.

West Nile virus

A mild case of West Nile Virus generally does not show any symptoms and may go unreported.  A more severe case can cause symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, swelling in the lymph node, as well as stiff neck.  A small number of people may also develop problems associated with the nervous system.

Zika virus

Generally does not cause any serious symptoms.  Some of the common symptoms that may occur include rash, joint, and fever.  If a pregnant woman becomes infected with Zika virus, it can lead to congenital anomalies.

Yellow fever

It is a viral hemorrhagic disease.  It can also cause jaundice.  This virus causes inflammation in the brain and spinal cord.  Mild symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, nausea, and vomiting.  Severe cases cause problems to the heart, liver, and the kidney.

Dengue fever

It is a viral disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes mainly in the tropical regions.  Symptoms generally include high fever, muscle soreness, rash, and joint pain.  People who get an infection for the second time are at higher risk of developing severe cases.  Severe cases can cause severe bleeding and shock.  This can be fatal if not treated on time.

Chikungunya

It is a viral infection that appears within a week of a mosquito bite.  Symptoms include fever, joint pain, headache, and rash.  Flu-like symptoms followed by mosquito bite should be reported to the doctor to check for chikungunya.  Treatment generally involves providing relief from fever and joint pain.  The symptoms would gradually subside after the virus runs its course.

Prevention

Preventing mosquito bites seems to be the best way to avoid complications associated with it.  Some of the steps you can take to prevent mosquito bites are discussed below.

Avoid stagnant water around your home

As discussed earlier, mosquitoes need stagnant water to breed.  It can be any type of stagnant water that includes pools, water drains, old tires accumulating rainwater, etc.  If there is water that stays stagnant for a week, there is a high possibility that it can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Avoiding stagnant water around the house should be the first step you should be taking to prevent mosquitoes.  You need to take time to eliminate these stagnant water around your house by unclogging drains, removing trash cans, cleaning your swimming pool, flushing your sump and removing water from the buckets.

Mowing the lawn regularly can attract a lesser number of mosquitoes as tall grass and weeds are the places where the mosquitoes hang out.  If you feel that you are not able to handle it, you may prefer to choose a professional to do it for you.  There are some organizations that provide free service to do this.

Cover up if you are going out after sunset

The general tendency of mosquitoes is to rest during the day and be active between sunset and sunrise. If you have children in the house, make sure to plan your outdoor activities in the daytime.  If you and your children have no choice but to go out during the night, make sure to cover up with long sleeves and pants.  This can reduce the risk of getting mosquito bites.  Try to avoid perfumes and bright clothing as they tend to attract mosquitoes.

Try some repellents

You can choose to use insect repellent when venturing outdoors.  Since mosquitoes select their prey with higher body odor and increased carbon dioxide emissions, exercising outdoors should be avoided.  There are a number of insect repellents that are recommended by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Some of these repellents include:

  • DEETN, N-Diethyl-meta-Toluamide is the most effective chemical-based mosquito repellent that has been around in the market. DEET acts by blocking the receptors in the mosquito that detects carbon dioxide and body odor.  The repellent can work anywhere from 2 to 12 hours depending on the percentage of DEET present in the product.  They are available in various forms including wristbands, sprays, liquids, and lotions.
  • PicaridinPicaridin is the latest addition to the repellents. This is considered to be safe even for infants less than 6 months of age.  It works similar to DEET that is it prevents the mosquitoes from identifying its prey.  The effectiveness of Picaridin is more or less similar to DEET.
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus: This is a natural chemical-free repellent which seems to be a good option for people who are allergic to chemicals.  This natural oil can be sprayed to prevent mosquito bites.

Caution while traveling

If you are planning to go out on vacation, you need to take a complete survey regarding the risk of mosquito-borne illness at your vacation spot.  Your healthcare provider can give you some vaccines to prevent certain mosquito-borne illness such as yellow fever and malaria.  It is important to pack your insect repellent and use them whenever applicable.

Home remedies for mosquito bites

It has been estimated that there are more than 3000 types of mosquitoes and more than 200 of them are present in the U.S. and should not be a surprise if you have got bitten by one of them.  These mosquito bites can cause inflammation and redness associated with some nagging itching that can persist for a period of time.  There are some home remedies available that can help you from these symptoms and include:

Witch Hazel

It has been widely used to treat acne as it can remove blemishes on the skin.  It has been found that witch hazel also provides relief from itching, swelling, and redness caused by a mosquito bite.  Witch hazel has a chemical called tannin, which works as an astringent.  This helps reduce swelling and provides a soothing effect on the affected area.

White tea and chamomile tea bags

Both these have been used for a very long time to treat inflammation and skin issues.  You can use the used tea bags of white tea and chamomile tea and apply them on the affected area.  This would provide a reduction in inflammation as well as reduce the itching sensation.  These tea bags are known to contain antioxidant, antiseptic, and polyphenolic properties.

Essential Oils

Numerous essential oils such as rose oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, myrrh oil, bergamot oil, frankincense oil, etc are known to provide a soothing effect on the skin.  You can add them to a carrier oil such as coconut oil and apply to the affected area to provide relief from itching.

Oatmeal Bath

A traditional remedy that has been followed for centuries can provide you relief from the nagging itching caused by mosquito bites.  Colloidal oatmeal contains emollients and hence has been used as a moisturizer.  They are widely found in shampoo, soaps, moisturizing cream, as well as shaving gels.  Avenanthramides present in oats are powerful antioxidants and help reduce inflammation and itching.

Final Thoughts

In the majority of cases, a mosquito bite is nothing greater than a small bump and redness with itching.  In few cases when these mosquitoes are infected, they tend to transmit diseases and this is when the problems arise.

You need to take precautionary measures to prevent mosquito bites and even after these measures you get a mosquito bite, you have several home remedies that are available to reduce the symptoms.

Flu-like symptoms following a mosquito bite should be reported to your healthcare provider to check for any underlying mosquito-borne diseases.  As the bottom line, it is better to prevent mosquito bites rather than treating them after getting bitten.

Facts

  • The mosquito-borne disease accounts for millions of deaths every year.
  • According to WHO, dengue incidence has increased by 30%.

Facts

  • It has been estimated that malaria causes around 400,000 deaths every year.
  • The mosquito-borne disease accounts for 17% of all infectious diseases.

Facts

  • Climate plays an important role in determining the prevalence of mosquito-borne diseases.

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Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Remove stagnant water around the home.
  • Use mosquito repellents.
  • Wear full sleeved clothes.
  • Avoid vacationing at mosquito-borne disease areas.
Don'ts
  • Scratch at the bite area.
  • Wear short clothes when outdoors.
  • Wear bright clothes.
  • Apply strong perfumes.

 

 

 

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5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
DHEA wrinkles
DHEA: Now get unbelievable age defiance with this wonder hormone! DHEA is known popularly as the age-defying hormone. This supplement is widely used to slow down aging and…
Cordyceps: How the Caterpillar fungus works as a proven cancer-shield Strange as it may sound, but cordyceps or "caterpillar fungus", a fungus variety native to the Himalayas may…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life by offering the…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
Vitamin-D-blood-test
25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test is a blood test used to measure the level of vitamin D in the…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
Plexus Slim: Is this pink slimming drink the ultimate one-stop fat burner? How effective is Plexus Slim in helping people lose weight? What are its ingredients? Can it be safely…
liver cleanse detox
14 go-to foods that are best for a complete natural liver detox Liver cleanse can be achieved by just choosing or avoiding certain types of food. Liver itself is a detoxifying…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
EEG
Electroencephalogram – EEG EEG or electroencephalogram is a diagnostic tool used to access the functioning of neurons and brain activity to…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
apolipoprotein a1 test
Apolipoprotein -A1 (APO-A1) Test Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) constitutes 70% of protein content in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and helps in lipid metabolism.
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Hepatitis A virus infected liver
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Total Blood test to look for IgM antibodies to know if you are infected with Hepatitis A virus (HAV),…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
avocado benefits
Avocado: 15 reasons why this fruit should be a staple in your diet Did you know that the word avocado literally means "testicles". Don't get grossed out as this power-packed fruit…
Cottage cheese: What can you find in this healthy chunk of fresh milk cheese? Love cheese but scared of putting on extra pounds? With cottage cheese, you can get the best of…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main theme of general…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
Rubella IgM test
Rubella IgM Test The Rubella IgM test is a blood test that is performed to diagnose the presence of the rubella…
Thyroid disorders
Thyroid Profile Thyroid profile is a panel of blood tests performed to check if an individual is suffering from any…
Unbelievable health benefits of gooseberries (and a few tasty recipes) Gooseberries are antioxidant-rich tasty fruits that can be easily added in daily diet to improve overall health and…
piles fissure fistula
Allopathy vs homeopathy vs ayurveda treatment for piles, fissures, and fistula Read to know the best form of treatment among allopathy, homeopathy,or ayurveda for piles, fissures, and fistula
Optavia diet
The features of an Optavia diet The Optavia diet endorses pre-packaged meals and snacks called "fuelings" that are tasty, low in calorie, and incorporates…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…