Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch For Days?
Mosquito bites are itchy red bumps that occur as a result of inflammatory response to the saliva and proteins that are released in the blood. When the mosquito feeds on the blood they use their mouthparts to puncture the skin and to prevent blood from coagulating they release saliva and proteins in the blood. These substances are recognized as foreign by the body’s immune system and a complex immune response takes place to get rid of these substances, which leads to inflammation of the bitten area. The children who are exposed for the first time might be more sensitive to the bites as compared to the adults who have been desensitized over time. This inflammatory response lasts a few days and therefore the symptoms of mosquito bites such as redness swelling and itchiness.
In some people there may be severe reaction that will include soreness and swelling of a large area around the bite, this is known as Skeeter syndrome. Male mosquitoes are relatively harmless as they only feed on nectar; it is only the female mosquitoes that bite humans as they require blood to nurture their eggs. These mosquitoes might also carry various parasites and viruses that can cause severe illness and therefore any alarming symptoms should be immediately reported to the doctor and tests should be undergone to rule out any suspicion. These diseases include malaria, dengue, encephalitis, yellow fever, Zika virus, West Nile virus and meningitis (the inflammation of the brain and spinal cord). These diseases can lead to life-threatening complications and should therefore be identified as soon as possible to overcome the illness by starting early treatment.
The alarming symptoms that should require immediate treatment include a high-grade fever (102 degree Fahrenheit), rashes, muscle and joints pain, weakness and lethargy, headache that is not going away, anaphylaxis leading to swelling of the throat and breathlessness.
Prevention Of Mosquito Bites
As it is said prevention is better than cure, mosquito bites prevention is the best measure to avoid any allergies and serious illnesses. Since the mosquitoes breed in warm tropical climate and swampy areas it is advised to avoid any stagnation of water as they might serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. They are more likely to be attracted to dark clothes as they absorb more heat so dark clothes should be avoided in the evening especially when they bite more often. Wearing clothes that fully cover the body along with hats and socks can help prevent mosquito bites. Use of mosquito repellent creams and sprays are also helpful in getting rid of mosquitoes. Although these measures might minimize the mosquito bites up to some extent but cannot fully prevent them. In case you have been bitten and the itchiness and swelling does not go away on its own then use of hydrocortisone creams and calamine lotion will help in relieving itching. Oral anti-histamines will prevent the release of histamines that trigger the inflammatory response and cause allergic symptoms. Benzocaine is preferred for excess itching over the mosquito bite. In case of anaphylactic reaction use of epinephrine is highly recommended. Since it is an emergency condition epinephrine auto injector pens are widely used these days to allow immediate application.
Home remedies include use of ice packs and cold pack over the bites, application of honey that reduces inflammation. Washing the bitten area with cold water and then applying an antibiotic cream over it is also helpful, cold packs are helpful in reducing swelling, oatmeal bath also relieves itching, and baking soda solution is also known to reduce inflammation. It is important to note that although scratching provides temporary relief to the itchiness caused by the bite, it should be avoided. It might lead to further inflammation and also lead to breaking of skin and formation of infection of the area. In order to prevent scratching a use of bandage over the mosquito bite is also helpful. It will also help in preventing infection over the open bites and wounds.