- Mosquitoes bite because mosquitoes deposit saliva on your skin when they bite you.
- Saliva causes your immune system to react to irritation which causes redness, itching and swelling.
- To treat mosquito bites, avoid scratches and use topical steroid medications.
- Visit the Insider Health Reference Library for more tips.
Outdoor activities such as barbecue and camping are often accompanied by the buzz of mosquitoes. These annoying insects want to feast on your blood, but they also leave behind an itchy red bath. The reason for this itching is reduced to your body’s response to the mosquito bite.
Why do mosquito bites itch?
We all know that mosquito bites are annoying, but why? It has to do with mosquito saliva and your immune system.
Not only do mosquitoes feed on your blood, they also insert saliva into your skin. This process causes your immune system to react to the irritant.
“Activation of the immune system in the skin can cause redness and itching, which is what happens with a mosquito bite,” he says. Jeffrey M. Cohen, MD, Yale Medicine dermatologist and assistant professor at u Yale School of Medicine.
Mosquito bite remedies
Luckily, there are several remedies for mosquito bites to give you relief from that annoying itch. Cohen recommends trying these quick fixes:
- Don’t scratch them: Although the desire to itch may be overwhelming, avoid giving in. “Scratching irritates the area more than it already is, and makes the bite last longer and itch longer,” says Cohen. Apart from, scratching bites can cause an infection.
- Topical steroid dressings: These ointments reduce immune activation in the skin, thus reducing itching, Cohen says. An example of over-the-counter steroid medication is hydrocortisone-like cream Cortisone 10.
- Anti-itching analgesic lotions: Analgesics are generally used for pain relief, but there are some that are specifically made to relieve itching. Cohen recommends Sarnaanti-itching lotion or Cerave Moisturizing Cream Relieves Itching. He says these two products will soothe the skin and reduce itching.
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines such as allergic medications can reduce some of the signals in your body that tell your skin to itch, says Cohen. An example of an antihistamine is Benadryl, which also makes a Itching Stopping the Cream which Cohen recommends. You can use the dose for children so they don’t fall asleep.
- Avoid being bitten: Cohen says the best remedy for mosquito bites is to avoid putting them in the first place. You can do this by wearing protective and insect repellent clothing.
Take away the Insider
Mosquito bites are annoying, but they won’t ruin your summer.
Take preventative measures to avoid stinging in the first place, and if you have already been bitten, resist the urge to itch and use over-the-counter remedies to soothe the discomfort.