Mosquito bites

July 2017

Summer is the peak season for mosquito bites. Reactions to these bites can daily poison and spoil thousands of people's summer.

Why does it itch?

When mosquitoes bite, they do not just draw blood, they also inject saliva containing an anticoagulant to prevent the blood from their mouth suction.

The injected product also has the effect of causing a reaction of mast cells located in connective tissue and releasing histamine, responsible for the itching.

Histamine's effect is felt after 30 to 60 seconds and reaches a maximum after approximately 2 or 3 minutes. The effect wears off after at least 10 minutes.

Reactions caused by mosquitoes

Minor local reactions

Mosquitoes can cause simple local inflammatory reactions of the size of a 1 euro coin accompanied by mild itching.

Extended local reactions

They can also cause larger than several centimeters in diameter inflammatory reactions accompanied by a hot and painful swelling and severe itching. This is most often local allergic reactions.

Several bites

Sometimes several bites are recorded and each bite can cause moderate or greater reaction.

Superinfection at the bite location

Lesion's Superinfection caused by bites or are sometimes found, especially in children. Antibiotic treatment is recommended.

General reactions

The most important general reactions like a giant hives, difficulty breathing or angioedema have been described but are quite exceptional.

Tips to less be bitten by mosquitoes

  • Wear loose and thick clothing that covers arms and legs.
  • Avoid dark colours and too shiny clothes that attract insects.

It is important to know that a mosquito can bite through clothing, but also at the ankles and abdomen.
In places particularly rich in mosquitoes or for persons for whom the skin repellents are not recommended, clothes can be impregnated with a special insecticide fabric. The use of insecticide is recommended.
Electrical appliances, broadcasters, or pingers have a relative efficiency.

These measures will be implemented especially from sunset to sunrise period when the risk of being bitten is the most important.
Check with your doctor or pharmacist to know the products that may be recommended for children.

Lemongrass only protects for about an hour against bites and is not recommended in children under 2 years.


Preventive antihistamine treatment can be prescribed for several weeks for the duration of exposure.


Local treatment

Alcoholic compresses should be applied 2-3 times a day to the site of injection. A steroid ointment can also be applied in case of larger local reaction.


An antihistamine may also be prescribed in a sting to avoid itching which can cause superinfection.


Antibiotics will be prescribed in case of superinfection.


Original article published by . Translated by Crashounette. Latest update on June 21, 2017 at 03:02 PM by Crashounette.
This document, titled "Mosquito bites," is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM Health (