The arrival of summer brings warm temperatures, outdoor activities, and mosquitoes. These bugs are notorious for crashing your cookouts and leaving you with itchy bites. Knowing how to prevent these bugs from bugging you can make your summer more enjoyable. Check out how to avoid mosquito bites this summer.
What Does a Mosquito Bite Look Like?
Most mosquito bites are pink or red, itchy bumps. They can be puffy with a spot in the middle. These bites often appear a few minutes after being bitten. Sometimes swelling, hives, dark spots, and blisters can occur. Unfortunately, mosquito bites can look similar to other bug bites including flea and spider bites.
Mosquito bites are likely if you have been:
- Spending time outdoors, particularly during dawn and dusk hours, when mosquitoes are most active
- Near standing bodies of water including lakes, ponds, or pools with no water circulation
- Walking or hiking through tall grasses or dense vegetation
Why Do Mosquitoes Bite People?
Female mosquitoes bite humans to feed on blood. The nutrients in your blood help the females nourish and lay eggs. They use the sharp tip of their piercing mouthpart, the proboscis, to penetrate skin and draw out the blood. While doing so, mosquitoes inject their saliva, which contains an anticoagulant, to prevent blood from clotting. They easily withdraw the proboscis and fly away.
Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?
Mosquito saliva is a foreign substance in your body. When you are bitten, your immune system goes to work to protect you from the intrusion. Your body produces histamine, which creates a raised, itchy bump on your skin. This reaction is similar to when you have a mild allergic reaction.
Inflammation and swelling occur because the histamine increases your blood flow and white cell count near the bite. A signal is released to your nerves, which causes the annoying itch.
This response is learned, and it probably wasn’t the reaction you had when you got your first bite. Not every mosquito bite will cause the same reaction. Some bites may go unnoticed, while others may drive you crazy, itching for days. Some people don’t react to a bite. After much exposure to mosquito saliva, some become tolerant to it.
Why Do Some Mosquito Bites Get Swollen?
Sometimes mosquito bites flare up and become really swollen. This happens when people are more allergic to mosquito bites. These bites can turn into welts. The skin may stiffen and get warm, extending the reaction several inches out from the bite. These types of reactions are most common in children, the elderly, and in individuals with autoimmune issues. Every person is different, as is every mosquito and bite.
Does Scratching a Mosquito Bite Make it Worse?
Scratching a mosquito bite often makes the itching worse. When you scratch an inflamed bite, the inflammation expands, causing more intense itching. If you break the skin when scratching, the area can become infected. This will increase the itching and lengthen the time it takes to heal. Resist the temptation, and don’t scratch a mosquito bite.
How to Prevent Mosquito Bites
When spending time outside, there are things you can do to keep these pests away. Check out a few tips to prevent mosquito bites.
- Avoid Peak Mosquito Hours: Mosquitoes are most active in the early morning and at dusk. When possible, limit your time outside during these hours.
- Cover Your Skin: Long sleeves and pants can help prevent mosquito bites. You’ll also want to keep your ankles covered. Lighter colors are less attractive to mosquitoes than dark colors.
- Avoid Strong Fragrances: Mosquitoes are attracted to strong odors. When spending time outside, avoid perfumes and colognes with strong scents.
- Use a Mosquito Repellent: Our plant-based Natural Insect Repellent can help keep mosquitoes from bugging you. It repels mosquitoes, ticks, and flies.
How Do You Treat a Mosquito Bite?
Scratching won’t help, but there are other things you can do to treat a mosquito bite. The following can help relieve the effects of a mosquito bite:
- Wash the area with soap and water
- Apply an ice-pack or heat
- Apply calamine lotion or an anti-itch cream
- Take over-the-counter antihistamines, but be sure to follow label directions
- Take an oatmeal bath
- Apply aloe gel or make a paste with water and baking soda
When Should You See a Doctor?
Typically, mosquito bites will go away within a few days. However, some people have serious reactions to mosquito bites. This includes anaphylactic shock. If you or a family member experiences trouble breathing, facial swelling, or large hives after a mosquito bite, seek medical attention.
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes
Using plant-based insecticide sprays can help keep your yard free of mosquitoes. Not only do they kill on contact, they also provide residual repellency. Our Home Bug Spray, Flying Insect Killer, and Mosquito Fogger are effective for spot treatment. You can also spray your yard with our Mosquito & Tick Killer or Yard Bug Spray. Their repellent properties will act as a barrier helping to keep mosquitoes away.
You shouldn’t have to spend your summer inside just to avoid mosquitoes. Being prepared for their arrival can save you from being bitten. If mosquitoes are bugging you, we’re here to help! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Pest Control products for a more environmentally and family-friendly solution.