When you think of warm weather you typically think of beach trips, long days by the pool, and barbecues. But these fun days also bring pesky mosquitoes. These insects can put a damper on even the best day because of their itchy red bumps. Not only that but these insects are capable of transferring serious diseases like the Zika virus, West Nile virus, and eastern equine encephalitis.
Understanding a Mosquito Bite and What Comes with Them
Almost everyone is sensitive to a mosquito bite. But for some people mosquitoes can be more than just annoying, they can be extremely dangerous.
Most of the time a mosquito bite happens in the evening when mosquitoes are the most active. Male mosquitoes are harmless, feeding on nectar while female mosquitoes are the ones that are out for blood. These females choose their victims by using a combination of scent, chemicals in a person’s sweat, and exhaled carbon dioxide. After finding the ideal person, the female mosquito will land on an area of exposed skin and will then extend her proboscis- a long tube that comes from the female mosquito’s head that can pierce human skin- to draw blood. The common symptoms of these bites are red bumps and itching, however, these symptoms aren’t caused by the actual mosquito bite but rather a reaction to the proteins in a mosquito’s saliva. This reaction is known as Skeeter syndrome.
Why Do Mosquitoes Bite?
The female mosquitoes that bite do so because they require the protein that is found in blood to nourish their developing eggs. These mosquitoes use different factors to determine who they are going to land on, some of which include:
Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?
The proteins and anticoagulants that get injected into your body after a mosquito bite trigger the body’s immune system which will then release a histamine- a compound that allows white blood cells to access the affected area. This increased blood flow and the white blood cell count are what causes inflammation and swelling that accompany a mosquito bite. The histamine also sends a signal to the nerves that surround a mosquito bite which is what causes the bites to itch.
Some people will experience this annoying itch but others may not even realize that they have been bitten. If you are consistently exposed to the same types of mosquitoes you can develop a resistance to the protein that they release which will help your immune system build up a tolerance which will lead to less itching.
It is important to remember that scratching a mosquito bite will only make the itching sensation worse because of the increase in inflammation. Over scratching your mosquito bite can also increase the risk of infection if it breaks the skin.
Symptoms of a Mosquito Bite
Common symptoms of mosquito bites typically include itchy and red soft bumps, and in most cases, this redness and swelling will appear minutes after a mosquito feeds on you. The next day, there will typically be a firm dark red bite, although it can take up to 48 hours after the initial bite for these symptoms to appear.
As your mosquito bite begins to heal, the itching sensation will begin to fade and your skin will be less red and inflamed around the bite area. A typical mosquito bite tends to be less than a half-inch across, if your bite is bigger than a quarter then you might be experiencing a more severe allergic reaction to the histamine. Some other signs of a more severe allergic reaction include:
However if you begin to experience a fever, nausea, vomiting, severe headaches, or muscle weakness you should seek emergency medical attention immediately. It may seem strange to go to the emergency room for a mosquito bite but if they can cause serious health issues.
Preventing Mosquito Bites
Just like any other pest problem, the best way to avoid mosquitoes and mosquito bites is through prevention. Mosquitoes need standing water to breed, so eliminating areas where standing water is prone to gather is important. Some areas that you should pay particular attention to include:
You can also avoid attracting mosquitoes and mosquito bites by:
Our team is here to help keep you and your family safe from the ailments that accompany mosquitoes and their bites. Give us a call today to learn more about our mosquito prevention packages and how we can help you stay pest-free.