Nearly everyone is sensitive to mosquito bites, but every year, during the warmer months, mosquitoes appear and so do the red, itchy welts, that usually appear after they bite. Why do they do this?
All adult mosquitoes feed on the nectar of plants to get sugar. The sugar provides both male and female mosquitoes with the nourishment they need to live. The female mosquitoes, however, produce eggs, and in order to do that they need protein. Where might a female mosquito find protein? They get it from the blood of humans, mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs.
Female mosquitoes track their food source using a combination of odor, exhaled carbon dioxide, and chemicals in the person’s sweat. When she finds her meal, she lands on an area of exposed skin and inserts her proboscis in search of blood (the proboscis is the long, flexible tube extruding from her head, and it’s capable of piercing human skin).
A mosquito bite can cause a variety of reactions. People who have never been bitten before (primarily young children) may not react at all. The most common reaction is a red bump, followed by itching. The itching isn’t caused by the bite itself, but by the reaction of your body’s immune system to the mosquito’s saliva.
Are you a target for mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes appear to prefer certain victims over others, including:
- pregnant women
- people who are overweight or obese
- people with type O blood
- people who have recently exercised
- people who emit higher amounts of uric acid, lactic acid, and ammonia
- people who have recently drunk beer
Mosquito bite signs include:
- A puffy, white and reddish bump that appears a few minutes after the bite
- A hard, itchy, reddish-brown bump that appears a day or so after the bite or bites
- Small blisters instead of hard bumps
- Dark spots that look like bruises
- A large area of swelling and redness
- Low-grade fever
- Avoid outdoor activities when they’re most active, dusk to dawn.
- Repair tears in the screens on your windows, doors and camping gear.
- Use mosquito netting over strollers and cribs or when sleeping outdoors.
- Long sleeves
- Socks and closed-toe shoes
- Long pants, possibly tucked into the tops of your socks
- Light colors
- A hat that protects your ears and neck or one with mosquito netting that covers your face
- Eliminate standing water, which mosquitoes need to breed.
- Unclog roof gutters.
- Empty children’s wading pools at least once a week.
- Change water in birdbaths at least weekly.
- Get rid of old tires in your yard.
- Empty outdoor flower pots regularly or store them upside down so that they can’t collect water.
- Drain your fire pit if water collects there.
The last word ...
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