Warm weather or a humid climate are always linked with the arrival of blood-sucking mosquitoes. Whether you are outdoors or indoors buzzing mosquitoes never leave you alone. They are a common nuisance and at times are unavoidable. Through this article, we understand what are the symptoms and home remedies for mosquito bites.
Everyone’s body chemistry differs slightly. Some people are more likely to attract unwanted insects towards them than others. Mosquitoes seem to be especially attracted to larger people and pregnant women. They are also attracted to sweet-smelling lotions and perfumes.
Mosquitoes have special senses that can know your presence from far away and are attracted to human blood. While breathing, you emit a plume of carbon dioxide that carries on the breeze and it also seeps from your skin. This carbon dioxide as well as the warmth and humidity you’re giving of—attracts these pesky bugging parasites. Additionally, apart from human blood mosquitoes are also attracted to certain chemicals in your sweat.
Home Remedies for Mosquito Bites TOC
Understanding Mosquito Bites
For producing, eggs mosquitoes need protein and iron and they get this supply from human blood. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, these eggs then undergo various stages to develop into adult mosquitoes.
While bees and wasps inject venom when they sting, mosquitoes inject a proboscis, which looks like a tiny straw, to suck up blood and release anti-clotting agents. In response to this, our body immediately reacts by releasing histamine, which creates a small, itchy bump. The mosquito bite is just a skin penetration of a microscopic needle-like structure-“proboscis” but you develop itchy bumpy swellings as your body reacts to substances that the mosquito bite leaves behind.
Mosquito sting hurts—giving itchy, sore, painful red bumps that can last for a few hours. The bite marks can be unbearable to itch. Though most mosquito bites are harmless, some disease-carrying mosquitoes can cause complications like malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, Chikungunya, and yellow fever, all these are rare, and the chances of having them depend on where you live.
Symptoms of the mosquito bite
Symptoms of a mosquito bite can take three days to two weeks to develop (after a bite from an infected mosquito). Generally, these symptoms resolve in a few hours but if a person is highly sensitive, symptoms can last for several days. For example, the tiny red bum can turn into an itchy sore the size of a quarter.
In mild cases, symptoms may include:
- Body aches
- Swollen glands
If you notice any severe symptoms, take immediate medical attention.
Home Remedies for Mosquito Bites
The best way to get rid of mosquito bite irritation is by avoiding the bugs themselves to start with. Here are some home remedies to help relieve mosquito bites.
- Use cool dampened used tea bags (preferably green tea or chamomile tea) on the affected part to speed up healing and ease skin irritation from the compounds of the tea.
- Apply aloe vera gel on the bite to help heal with its anti-inflammatory properties and provide a soothing effect
Put any cold compress (ice pack) on the bite to numb the area which helps reduce the itchiness, inflammation and soothes the skin
- Apply baking soda paste on the bug to soothe the itching and reduce the pain caused due to mosquito bite
Dab little honey on an itchy bite. The antibacterial properties can reduce inflammation and prevent the bite from getting infected. Though honey can create a sticky mess and the sweetness could attract more bite.
- Put calamine lotion to the bites to soothe the itches and reduce redness.
- Rub alcohol or hand sanitizer or Listerine to the bite eases the itching. It has menthol which cools the skin to help relieve itch.
- Rub basil leaf or lemon balm leaf on the skin to repel mosquitoes, alleviate swelling, and could relieve itchy skin.
- Place a slice of onion or garlic on the affected area until the itching reduces.
- Apply neem-based or peppermint toothpaste to the affected area for quick relief.
- Dab crushed aspirin paste containing acetylsalicylic acid (anti-inflammatory).
- Applying heat compress on the affected site may improve the symptoms of mosquito bites.
- Take a soak in a soothing oatmeal bath to relieve itching and swelling with its anti-irritant qualities.
- Use insect repellent (Odomos, DEET, citronella candles) or ultrasonic mosquito repellent devices to draw mosquitoes away.
- Use essential oils (tea tree, rosemary, lavender, neem) that may give temporary relief for a mosquito bite
Dab a drop of apple cider vinegar to help reduce stinging and burning sensations.
Useful Tips to Prevent Mosquito Bites
Since it may not be always possible to prevent all mosquito bites, the following are some ways to reduce the risk.
- Be aware of peak mosquito hours (dawn, dusk, early evening)
- Wear full-sleeved clothing when you go outdoors.
- Apply mosquito repellent to all exposed skin.
- Use mesh on windows and doors to keep the mosquitoes out. Regularly repair screens with holes and tears, as needed.
- Drain stagnant water (coolers, flower pots, water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, etc.)
- Watch out for clogged rain or sewage gutters and clean them.
- Remove discarded tires and old unwanted crap that could accumulate water around the yard.
- Check for containers or trash in places that are tricky to be seen (under bushes or houses)
- Avoid wooded and grassy areas.
The Bottom Line
Mosquito bites can be an itchy nuisance but with some precautions, you don’t have to let them ruin your time outdoors. Mosquito bite in itself is harmless, but it’s the individual sensitivity because of which these nasty bumps become very itchy and can sometimes be even painful. For a few cases who are relatively more sensitive, a mosquito bite can cause a larger area of swelling, soreness, and redness. The bump usually clears up on its own in a few days.
Mosquitoes carry different kinds of diseases. Fighting mosquito bites reduces your risk of getting seriously infected, along with other illnesses that mosquitoes can carry. They can also cause harmful allergic reactions in some people. Very rarely an over-release of chemicals can lead to anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening. Thus, the risk of developing a serious condition like anaphylaxis is the most dangerous outcome of a mosquito bite.
Simply using insect repellents and other measures to prevent mosquito bites will reduce your chances of developing allergic reactions. Although the best way to get rid of mosquito bite irritation is to avoid a bite altogether. If you are a bit, you can very easily and quickly stop the swelling and itching with a safe, cost-efficient homemade remedy.
Time takes care of it. Though not always easy, it’s important to keep the itching to a minimum.