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Mosquito Bite Symptoms and Treatments

Summer is the peak season for mosquito bites. Reactions to these bites can be annoying and, in serious allergy cases, dangerous to one's health.

Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?

When mosquitoes bite, they do not just draw blood, but they also inject saliva containing an anticoagulant to make it easier to remove its host's blood.

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

The histamine's effect is felt after 30 to 60 seconds and reaches a peak after approximately 2 or 3 minutes. The effect wears off after at least 10 minutes in the absence of irritation.

Reactions Caused by Mosquito Bites

Types of Mosquito Bites

A mosquito bite can cause a simple, local inflammatory reaction of the size of a 1 euro coin, accompanied by mild itching.

A mosquito bite can also cause a larger-than-several-centimeters-in-diameter inflammatory reaction, accompanied by a hot and painful swelling and severe itching. This is most often due to a local allergic reaction.

Occasionally, several bites are experienced, with each bite causing a moderate to severe reaction.

More severe, general reactions (e.g. giant hives, difficulty breathing, or angioedema, etc.) have been described, but are quite exceptional.

Infection Resulting from a Mosquito Bite

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

How to Repel Mosquitoes to Avoid Being Bitten

In order to avoid mosquito bites, you can try wearing loose and thick clothing that covers your arms and legs and avoiding dark colors and too-shiny clothing that attract insects. Electrical appliances, broadcasters, or special traps are also relatively efficient in avoiding mosquito bites.

These measures are especially recommended from sunset to sunrise, when the risk of being bitten by a mosquito is the most significant.

Check with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure that any products that you wish to use are recommended for children. For example, lemongrass only protects for about an hour against bites and is not recommended in children under 2 years old.

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

Treatment of Mosquito Bites

Compresses soaked in alcohol should be applied 2-3 times a day to the site of the bite. A steroid ointment can also be applied in the case of a larger, local reaction.

An antihistamine may also be prescribed in a sting to avoid itching which can cause superinfection, at which point an antibiotic will be prescribed.

Image: © phichak - Shutterstock.com

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