Mosquito bites are red itchy bumps on the skin that occur as a result of inflammatory response to the saliva and proteins released by the mosquito in the blood. This is followed by redness and swelling over the bite. The histamines produced as a result of inflammation will try to get rid of the foreign agent in the body. In doing so, they produce an immune/inflammatory response that leads to itchiness, redness and swelling over the affected region. Female mosquitoes are known to bite the humans as they require blood to nurture their eggs. Male counterparts do not require blood hence they feed on nectar.
Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Me So Much?
Female mosquitoes are known to select their hosts by evaluating them on the basis of their scent and chemicals released by them. They prefer to feed on men as compared to women and especially those who have exercised recently. Pregnant women are more prone to mosquito bites rather than non-pregnant women. People who release more amounts of uric acid, lactic acid and ammonia, alcoholics, obese or healthy people and people with blood group O type are more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes. They thrive in moist warmer climates and people residing in those regions experience more mosquito bites. They are also more attracted to darker clothes as they absorb more heat so people wearing those clothes are more likely to be bitten. Young adults and children produce more severe allergic reactions as compared to older people because they have been desensitized over time. Whereas young children are still getting used to the foreign agent in their body and the response produced is rather complex as compared to people who have gotten used to bite. Some people who have a weak immune system are also more likely to develop severe symptoms as they can become more sensitive to the saliva and proteins released by the mosquito.
They may also be carriers of severe diseases such as malaria, dengue, yellow fever, encephalitis, meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain) and zika virus that might lead to serious complications. Another severe reaction includes the anaphylactic reaction where the person’s throat starts swelling that leads to breathlessness. If it is not immediately dealt with it can turn fatal. Use of epinephrine is helpful in reversing the fatal symptoms.
Management And Prevention Of Mosquito Bites
Most of the time the mosquito bites does not lead to any threatening health complications. It is very rarely a person can have severe reaction to the saliva and proteins released by the mosquito. They mostly go away on their own in a couple of days. When the symptoms do not ease on their own then use of topical steroids and oral anti-histamines is indicated that help in relieving the symptoms associated with the bite. Auto injectable epinephrine pens are available for cases of anaphylaxis required in emergency conditions.
The other symptoms that might need emergency medical attention include fever, persistent headache, weakness, lethargy, sensitivity to light, mental fogging and muscle weakness especially on one side of the body. These could be signs of a more severe condition and should be immediately brought to the physician to rule out any life-threatening conditions.
Lastly prevention goes a long way in preventing allergies and other serious complications caused by the mosquito bites. Eliminating their breeding places is very important (rain gutters, pools and stagnant water in coolers etc). They are also known to thrive in hot humid climates so people living in those regions should take extra care. Wearing light colored clothes that fully cover the body along with socks and hat is helpful since they are attracted to dark colored clothes as they absorb more heat. Use of insect repellents when going outside especially in the evening when they are most active might provide some amount of protection against them. Most importantly it is necessary to avoid scratching the bites as they might further lead to infection in the broken skin and aggravate the inflammatory response.