Mosquito Bites

1 What are Mosquito Bites?

The itchy bumps that appear after the mosquitoes use their mouth parts to puncture your skin and feed on your blood is called mosquito bites. The bite usually clears up on its own but sometimes it can cause a large area of swelling, redness and soreness that sometimes can be called as skeeter syndrome.

This is mostly common in children but sometimes adults tend to have mosquito bites too. You may develop severe illnesses form mosquitoes carrying certain viruses or parasites.

Infected mosquitoes transmit West Nile virus to humans in many parts of the world.

Malaria, yellow fever and some type of brain infections (encephalitis) are other mosquito-borne infections.

2 Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of mosquito bites may include:

  • dark spots that look like bruises,
  • small blisters instead of hard bumps;
  • a puffy white and reddish bump that appears a few minutes after the bite;
  • a hard itchy, reddish-brown bump or multiple bumps;
  • more severe reactions may be experienced by children, people with immune system disorders and adults not previously exposed to the type of mosquito that bit them.

Some mosquito bites can trigger:

Mostly children will develop severe reaction compared to adults because adults are desensitized already. If your child is having a fever, body aches, headache and signs of infection, consult your doctor immediately. 

3 Causes

Mosquito bites are caused by female mosquitoes feeding on your blood.

Female mosquitoes are the one feeding on our blood by a mouth part made to pierce skin and siphon off blood because they need the protein in our blood to produce eggs. While the female mosquito fills itself with blood, it injects saliva into our skin which triggers a mild immune system reaction that results in the bumps and itching.

Victims are selected through exhaled carbon dioxide, chemicals in the person’s sweat and evaluating scent by the mosquitoes.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Doctors can usually diagnose mosquito bites by sight.

Unless you develop a fever or severe symptoms of the mosquito bite, you don’t need to see your doctor. Before visiting your doctor, write down the symptoms you or your child are experiencing in a notebook. Some basic questions that you can ask are:

  • What can I do to stop the itch?
  • Is it infected? Are there medications you will recommend?
  • Would they have side effects?
  • How will I know if I need additional care?

Your doctor may recommend over the counter antihistamine such as Benadryl. Sometimes the skeeter syndrome may be mistaken for a second bacterial infection because of broken skin or scratching. The result of an allergic reaction to proteins in mosquito saliva is what a skeeter syndrome is. There is no need for blood test.

5 Treatment

Several treatment methods exist for mosquito bites.

Do not scratch the part where you are bitten by the mosquito for it may be irritated.

You can apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream.

You can also ask your doctor for antihistamine medication.

You may also put an ice pack on the affected area.

6 Prevention

To prevent mosquito bites, try these safety measures:

  • avoid outdoor activities especially dusk to dawn;
  • use mosquito netting in your cribs and strollers or when sleeping outdoors;
  • repair holes in the screen of your doors, windows and camping gear;
  • apply insect repellent.

In the United States, the most effective have one of the three active ingredients such as DEET Icaridin or picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus which is a plant based compound. The insect repellents that have these repel ticks and mosquitoes. DEET may offer longer lasting effect. Apply spray repellent outdoors and away from food.

  • If you are going to use sunscreen, apply the sunscreen first then after 20 minutes apply the repellent, do not combine both of them,
  • do not use DEET products to infants younger than 2 months and avoid getting it in their faces and hands,
  • oil of lemon eucalyptus must not use for kids under the age of 3,
  • do not apply repellent under clothing, cuts, wounds, rashes and sunburns,
  • when you go home, wash with soap and water to remove the repellent,
  • use Permethrin to clothing and outdoor gears,
  • wear long sleeves, closed shoes, light color clothing and long pants,
  • you can also wear hat to protect your ears and neck,
  • take non-drowsy antihistamine medication if your bites are severe (skeeter syndrome),
  • remove standing water,
  • empty and clean pools,
  • unclog gutters,
  • change bird baths,
  • remove old tires,
  • empty flower pots,
  • drain your fire pit.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathic remedy for mosquito bites relieves pain and swelling.

Two of these are:

  • Ledum to help prevent sepsis,
  • Apis for the swelling and redness.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Try these simple tips in order to cope with mosquito bites: 

  • apply calamine lotion, non-prescription hydrocortisone cream
  • apply a paste made with baking soda and water to help ease the itch.

Reapply it several times until the itching stops.

You can also apply cold compress or ice pack to the affected area to relieve the pain or itching. Take antihistamine medicines like Benadryl.

9 Risks and Complications

There are several complications associated with mosquito bites.

The bites can also lead to infection or disease such as:

The mosquito may get the virus by biting an infected person or animal, and then the virus will be transferred to you through saliva after it bit you. Dengue fever can be found in Hawaii and several southern states while encephalitis and West Nile are found in United States, and malaria and yellow fever can be found in Tropical areas.