Summer is just around the corner—which means warm weather, outdoor picnics…and mosquitoes! You’re bound to get a few mosquito bites (especially if you don’t take steps to keep mosquitoes out of your backyard). But why do they itch? And how do you stop mosquito bites from itching? Better yet, how can you keep them from biting in the first place?
Find out from the pest pros at ScherZinger, today!
Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch, Anyway?
Lots of insects bite and sting, but they aren’t especially itchy. Why are mosquito bites, in particular, so itchy? It has to do with what happens when the mosquito bites you.
When a mosquito bites your skin, it pierces your skin with its mouthparts, called a proboscis. As it sucks your blood, the mosquito also injects saliva into your skin. This saliva is what causes the skin to get so itchy: the saliva is a foreign substance, which triggers your immune system to release histamines. (Histamines are a chemical the body produces to help white blood cells reach the bug bite and fight off the allergen. This response results in inflammation.)
Typically, mosquito bites begin to itch about 15 minutes after the bite and may get worse over the next day. Most mosquito bites stop itching and heal on their own after a couple of days.
Some people find that mosquito bites aren’t that bad, while others find them to be unbearable. For certain people, mosquito bites can result in itchy red welts known as hives. “Skeeter syndrome” is an allergic reaction to the proteins in mosquito saliva. This allergy results in large areas of swelling, itching, low-grade fever, hives, and swollen lymph nodes.
People who are vulnerable to more severe mosquito bite reactions include children, those with immune system disorders, and those bitten by a mosquito species they’ve never been exposed to.
How to Stop Mosquito Bites from Itching
If you’ve been bitten by mosquitoes, there are a few things you can do to stop the itching.
First, wash the area with soap and water. Then, apply an ice pack for 10 minutes. The ice pack will reduce swelling and itching. We also recommend applying either an anti-itch lotion (like calamine lotion, non-prescription antihistamine cream, or corticosteroid cream), or a mixture of baking soda and water to the bite.
If you have a stronger allergic reaction to mosquito bites, it may also be a good idea to take allergy medication. (Make sure to talk to your doctor before taking any medications.)
Above all, don’t scratch! Scratching the bite can make it worse and even result in infection.
How to Keep Mosquitoes from Biting You
Of course, the best thing would be to stop bites in the first place. Not only are mosquito bites annoying and painful—they can be hazardous to your health. Mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus, Zika virus, yellow fever, and even malaria!
What can you do to enjoy the outdoors this summer, bite-free and healthy?
We’ve written a number of in-depth posts on this (like why mosquitoes like you so much), but the long and short of mosquito prevention is this.
- Avoid mosquito-heavy times of the day (dusk and dawn).
- Wear protective clothing, like long, loose sleeves and pants. Consider tucking your pants into your socks, or at least avoid sandals.
- Apply effective mosquito repellent regularly to both your skin and clothing. Use a product that contains DEET, picaridin, IR 3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus every few hours. (Avoid natural remedies and gimmicky products—like “bug repellent wristbands”—that don’t work.)
- Get rid of standing water in your yard. (It’s where mosquitoes breed.) Fill in puddles, get rid of hollow tree stumps, and empty bird baths and plastic swimming pools every few days.
- Maintain your yard: fill in low areas, mow regularly, and cut back tree limbs. Allowing more sun in your yard helps to dry up wet spots.
- Use fans and tents during outdoor events. If you’re having a picnic or BBQ outdoors, use rotating fans to help keep mosquitoes away, or keep them out using tents.
Finally, if you have a mosquito problem that’s gotten out of hand, it’s a good idea to call in the professionals.
An experienced pest control expert—like the ones at ScherZinger—can find the source of your mosquito problem and eliminate it. Qualified pros can help you get rid of mosquitoes quickly and effectively, so you can have peace of mind this summer.
Need Help with a Mosquito Problem?
Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.