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.

 

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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Arthritis Profile Arthritis profile is a panel of primarily blood tests used to detect the presence of arthritis or check…
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Halotherapy: How inhaling salt can work wonders for your body Halotherapy is quickly gaining popularity amongst those with respiratory diseases. It has shown promise in its treatment.
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Diabetic Profile The diabetic profile is a set of tests used for testing and monitoring the various kinds of Diabetes…
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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…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
colposcopy
Colposcopy Colposcopy is a simple, quick and non- invasive diagnostic tool to look closely inside the vulva, vagina, and…
free testosterone test
Free testosterone Free Testosterone Test measures and monitors the level of the free testosterone in the blood. Less than 4%…
Propolis: Yet another amazing gift by the bees to the humans Bee propolis is yet another generous gift by the bees bestowed on the human race. They utilize substances…
liver biopsy procedure
Liver Biopsy Liver biopsy or hepatic biopsy is a diagnostic tool that collects a sample of live tissue from the…
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Hysteroscopy Hysteroscopy is a minimally invasive tool to help specialists view the uterus to diagnose and even treat several…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
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…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
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Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
dandelion weight loss
Caralluma Fimbriata: How to eat this cactus to lose weight Caralluma fimbriata is a miracle cactus that can be safely consumed by most for losing weight and boosting…
Urologist: When should you visit one and why? A urologist can treat not only genitourinary problems of both men and women but also can treat various…
6 arguments in favour of glucosamine and where can you find it Studies have shown that glucosamine works by preventing the breakdown of cartilage of the joints. This is usually…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
Miracle extract from the root of maca: 10 ways it can help you! Maca root has been used for years in herbal medicine. Today scientific research is unearthing fresh evidence in…
Lauric Acid: 8 health benefits you can derive from coconuts Appropriate use of saturated fats containing lauric acid can provide you numerous health benefits. This is the main…
kshar sutra
Kshar sutra treatment for piles, fissures and fistula Read to know the benefits and side effects of kshar sutra to treat anal piles, fissures, and fistula…
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…
GGt test
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green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
hYdroxycut pills
Hydroxycut: How safe are these so-called weight loss supplements? Hydroxycut is a blend of several different ingredients formulated to promote weight loss; powered by a key weight…
superfoods quinoa probiotics
10 fantastic Superfoods you need to include in your diet from today! What exactly are superfoods and how do they battle diseases? From losing weight to looking ravishing- these superfoods…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
creatinine
Creatinine Test The level of creatinine in the blood is a significant indicator of the health of your kidneys. This…
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Pelvic Ultrasound Pelvic ultrasound is a process where sound waves are used to create image of your pelvic region organs…
Mood swings
The real reasons for your mood swings and how to overcome them Are you prone to heated moods frequently? Do you also feel bouts of depressive feeling creeping up on…
Find all the instant ways to get rid of blackheads Blackheads - Not only are they aesthetically unappealing but if left untreated these can cause bacterial overgrowth on…
Did you know drinking alkaline water could be the healthier choice for you? Ever wondered how safe is your drinking water in terms of pH? Recent studies have revealed that Alkaline…
Ultrasound
Abdominal Ultrasound An abdominal ultrasound is used to visualize the organs inside your abdominal cavity including the liver, spleen, gall…
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CrossFit: Now get the perfectly sculpted body with this explosive gym routine CrossFit is a fitness regimen that makes use of high-intensity exercises in a shorter period to achieve muscle…
Is it possible to achieve full body detox with Master Cleanse? Master cleanse is a diet consisting of a lemonade based beverage, a salt water drink and a herbal…
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…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
Hot cups for detox? Read all about the ancient technique of cupping Did you know inverted hot cups on your back can squeeze out and eject toxins from your body?…
carbamazepine
Carbamazepine / Tegretol test The carbamazepine is a drug that is used to treat epilepsy and the carbamazepine test is performed to…
Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza! If you didn't love pineapples already, here are some of the top health benefits that bromelain can bring…
Electric toothbrush vs manual toothbrush: Who wins the dental war? Manual brushes are ideal for kids as it is important to start slowly unlike the electric brushes which…
Chlorella: Therapeutic powers of the billion-year-old algae now within your reach Chlorella - A billion year old nutrient-rich algae that can potentially ward off cancers and high cholesterol; the…
How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot? Neti pot has been a part of Ayurveda since centuries. This ancient tool is extremely effective in treating…
leptospira Igm test
Leptospira-IgM Test A Leptospira-IgM test is a blood test which is carried out to detect anti-Leptospira IgM antibody. Leptospirosis is…
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…
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Helicobacter Pylori – IgA Test The H.pylori IgA test is a blood test used to identify the level of IgA antigen in the…
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Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
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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
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Myelography Myelography is an important diagnostic tool that is used to investigate and identify abnormalities in the spine and…
cytomegalovirus igm test
Cytomegalo Virus (CMV) – IgM Test The CMV antibodies include both IgM and IgG antibodies which are the immune system's response to a CMV…
glucose-tolerance
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test – GTT Glucose tolerance test (or Oral GTT) is used to detect the onset of diabetes or prediabetes conditions. It…
The right way to prepare Alfalfa sprouts at home Alfalfa or lusan ghas is not just a nutritious animal fodder. This flavonoid-rich herb has some amazing health…
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Ovulation – facts to know about ovulation Learn how and when ovulation occurs, demystify common misconceptions, identify symptoms, methods of detection and right period for…

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