Mosquito Bite (Itching): What Causes It, What’s Good for It, Ways to Prevent It
Mosquitoes are small, short-lived, delicate animals belonging to the winged insect group, easily recognized by their thin and long legs. Mosquitoes, which usually enter our lives at summer nights, are known for the itchy bumps they leave on the skin after biting. The itchy bumps that appear prominently are allergic reactions that develop as a result of a chemical that mosquitoes use to suck blood. Flies that feed by sucking blood are generally known as female mosquitoes. Female mosquitoes need the protein found in human or animal blood to reproduce. Male mosquitoes feed mostly on flower and plant sap. Mosquito bites disappear within twenty-four hours on average and do not cause serious problems. However, it should be monitored for allergic reactions. In addition, serious diseases such as malaria, West Nile virus, equivalent disease, elephantiasis, yellow fever, and Zika virus can be seen in endemic areas.
What Causes Mosquito Bite Itching?
Female mosquitoes need to lay eggs in the blood for reproduction. They usually suck blood from amphibians, reptiles, birds, animals and humans. Some mosquito species do not need to suck blood to lay eggs. Because mosquitoes have a thin proboscis, they can easily suck blood through the skin. To prevent clotting in the sucked blood, mosquitoes release saliva into the vein. Saliva released into the vein stimulates the nerve endings in the tissue and causes pain and itching in the bitten area. A mosquito bite causes a swelling of 2-10 mm in size. At the same time, the salivary fluid left in the veins by mosquitoes is the main factor in the transmission of some diseases. As the amount of blood absorbed increases, a decrease in the itching effect is observed.
Mosquito bite itching heals faster thanks to special gels applied to the bitten area. Do not apply alcohol-containing perfume, cologne, etc. to the itching area. The use of products causes skin irritation and paves the way for stain formation. Additionally, when the area bitten by mosquitoes is scratched, it may cause skin redness and bleeding. In such a case, the skin bleeds open, which paves the way for infection.
Mosquito Bite Infection Symptoms
Although mosquito bites seem like a trivial situation that can occur every summer, they can cause serious problems. Especially those who travel regularly, live close to stream beds, have a weak immune system, or work in open areas are more prone to infection. Those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension and kidney disease may show more serious symptoms of infection. Patients showing symptoms of serious infection should immediately consult the nearest healthcare institution. Mosquito bite infection symptoms can be listed as follows:
- Red discoloration around the bitten area
- Dark spots with a bruised appearance in the bitten area
- The formation of a small hard bump in the bitten area within 1-3 minutes and the appearance of a spot in the middle
- Formation of water-filled swelling instead of small hard bumps
- Allergic reaction states (hives, swelling in the throat, fainting, wheezing)
In general, life-threatening symptoms other than these symptoms are rare. In some cases, a serious reaction such as anaphylaxis may occur, although this is rare. In case of anaphylaxis, close monitoring is required as symptoms such as a swollen throat, skin rash, change in consciousness, and wheezing may occur.
What is Good for Mosquito Bites?
Itching caused by mosquito bites usually disappears within a few days. However, some itching is severe and interferes with quality of life. The itching and pain resulting from this bite can be relieved with simple materials found at home. Natural solutions for mosquito bites are mentioned below:
- No matter how severe the itching of the area bitten by mosquitoes is, scratching should not be done.
- The reddened and swollen area should be kept clean. In this way, wound healing is accelerated and the risk of infection is reduced.
- Ice can be applied to the bitten area for a short time.
- A short-term compress can be applied to the bitten area with lemon or cold salt water.
- You can use it to prevent itching from mosquito bites by storing used tea bags in the refrigerator. Tea bags taken from the refrigerator are placed on the bitten area and thus provide a cooling effect.
- You can take a piece of the leaves of the aloe vera plant, remove the gel-like structure inside, and apply it directly to the bitten area.
- You can crush garlic, which is a natural antibiotic, and dilute it with coconut oil, which is a natural oil, and apply it to the bitten area. Garlic also helps disinfect the bitten area.
- Basil is also a plant that can help relieve mosquito itching and its allergic effects. You can soothe the skin by massaging the bitten area with some raw basil leaves.
- Thanks to its antibacterial properties, honey can reduce inflammation on the bite when applied to the bitten area.
- Freshly cut onion juice can reduce the pain and damage caused by mosquito bites. After applying the onion to the area, the skin should be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed.
- Applying thyme leaves to the bitten area for 10 minutes helps reduce the itching sensation.
- Chamomile tea applied to the bitten area reduces inflammation and increases the healing speed.
- You can mix oatmeal with water and turn it into a porridge, then apply it to the bitten area. After waiting for a while, you should wash it and then apply a moisturizer.
- Commonly known approaches to the bitten area, such as cologne, perfume, and toothpaste, are not recommended as they irritate the skin and increase the risk of complaints and infection.
What is Good for Fly Bites in Babies?
Newborn babies and young children have weaker immune systems than adults. Low immunity can cause serious problems after a mosquito bite. Blood and skin tests are performed in case mosquito bites cause any allergic reaction on children or babies. Allergy tests help to make a definitive diagnosis. Necessary precautions should be taken by parents until the immune system of babies and children develops. The top and edges of the bed can be covered with a transparent cover or mosquito net to protect the baby during sleep. Spraying protective medication on the cover increases the protection rate. Mosquito repellent sprays can be used for babies older than 2 months. Long-sleeved clothing that protects against mosquito bites may be preferred. Keeping the place you live away from puddles, lakes, stream beds or green areas is also among the protective methods.
After a mosquito bite, regional blisters larger than 3 cm may occur. The resulting swelling may collect water after a while. However, fever is common in children. These regional blisters usually heal within 3-10 days. Rarely, some children may experience allergic reactions such as acute generalized urticaria, allergic shock, and serum sickness.
Antihistamine creams are generally preferred in children to reduce itching caused by mosquito bites. However, treatment varies in children with systemic allergy findings.
In treatment, first of all, allergic symptoms that develop after a mosquito bite should be closely monitored, and the baby or child should be kept away from mosquitoes. The following treatment methods are applied to the child or baby with allergic symptoms:
- Medicines containing antihistamines should be given orally, and if cortisone creams are prescribed to the bitten area, they should be applied in a thin layer for the duration recommended by your doctor.
- In children showing symptoms of systemic reactions, oral cortisone use is administered upon physician’s request.
- If regional reactions occur along with fever, antipyretic drugs are also used.
- Antibiotic use is not recommended unless there is an infection.
Children with severe allergic symptoms are often affected by mosquito bites until their immune system recovers. Children generally do not show allergic symptoms after the age of 5 as their immune system develops.
If you or your child experience severe allergic symptoms as a result of a mosquito bite, you can contact a healthcare institution and be examined by specialist physicians. You can ensure that possible diseases are diagnosed at an early stage by having the necessary examinations in line with your doctor’s recommendations.