Mosquito Bites - Why They’re Itchy and Even Dangerous
The change in seasons and transient weather form the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mosquito bites can cause itchy skin and even transmit diseases. How can we protect our children from them and treat them properly?
Everyone loves summer! But with summer come the mosquitoes which we love less, to be polite. While it doesn’t bother us that they fly around, their presence does bring some cause for worry, pain, and scratching: they bite. And it turns out, mosquito bites can even be dangerous.
Troublemakers - Why bother us in summer?
Believe it or not, there are roughly 3,000 species of mosquitoes, including 40 species that fly about in Israel. The most common species is the Asian Leopard. Mosquitoes, like bees, feed off of pollen. The females also drink blood, in order to obtain the protein they need to create eggs - and so they bite us and other animals.
Why ruin our summer? Have you ever asked yourself this question? The answer is that, in summer, the mosquitoes begin to multiply like, well, flies, and more of them are around to suck your blood. We are not the only ones to suffer from the heat of the summer. Insects don’t enjoy the heat either, and are constantly on the lookout for a more pleasant environment to hang out in. This is why they enjoy flying over bodies of water, where they also enjoy laying their eggs - beaches, rivers, puddles, fish ponds and municipal fountains. They also like sneaking into our homes and cooling off in our air conditioning. Those troublemakers!
Why mosquito bites itch so much
When a mosquito bites, it secretes a substance from its saliva gland, one that prevents blood clotting and enables them to better suck their prey’s blood. This substance is what causes you to itch - an unpleasant sensation that can last for several days and generally also leads to local swelling and redness.
They’re more dangerous than you thought
For most of us, mosquito bites are unpleasant, but generally lead to just a few days of itchy skin, before it passes on its own. But in some cases, an allergic reaction can take place. Its signs are significant swelling and the appearance of boils that indicate a local infection, as well as fever and pain. In such cases, it is important to head to a doctor at once, so that the appropriate medications can be prescribed. All the more so when dealing with mosquito bites on infants and children, or bites on the face.
The doctor can also refer you to an allergist, to help determine whether you or your child is allergic to mosquito bites - and provide the appropriate medical care.
We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but mosquito bites can also transmit viruses and diseases. In fact, mosquitoes are the creatures responsible for the most human deaths in the world (about 3 million), because of the diseases they transmit. This is why many bodies of water are being dried up around the world - to help limit the amount of mosquitoes present in their midst.
How to relieve itchy skin caused by mosquito bites
Head to any pharmacy and you will find a wide variety of creams designed to calm the site of bites. Choose a natural solution to prevent and relieve mosquito bites over those that contain chemicals that can harm the skin, especially for children, infants and pregnant women.
There are wondrous natural substances that get the job done right. Search for gels that contain aloe vera (produced from the aloe plant), Allaantoin (produced from campari root), and, of course, other natural oils: citronella oil, geranium oil, tea tree oil and lavender oil. Some are used as natural insect repellents.
Here are a few more tips to help you protect against, prevent and treat mosquito bites, as they can bring about a sense of relief, numbing and rapid skin recovery:
First, clean the area surrounding the bite with running water.
Place an ice cube on the bite. The cold will temporarily numb the sense of itchiness.
Tip a cotton ball in a little bit of vinegar and use it to clean the bite. The acidity will help calm the skin.
Banana and apple peels can help absorb liquids and relieve swelling associated with the bite. Place a peel on the bite for half an hour.
Tea can also help absorb liquids, just as it is effective in reducing “bags” beneath your eyes. Place a damp tea bag on the bite to reduce swelling.
When in the field, toothpaste can also calm the site of a bite.
If you have fresh basil or mint leaves - rub them in your hands before wiping them across the bite.
Folk remedies include spreading: honey, propolis, or lemon juice.
It is recommended to have oils such as citronella oil, geranium oil and mint oil on hand at home, to help relieve itchiness and burning sensation.
Should the redness and swelling persist or look suspicious, head to the doctor to obtain a prescription for an anti-inflammatory cream.
To sum, the summer weather brings with it many mosquitoes. Luckily, we can protect ourselves and relieve bites with wonderful natural solutions!
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