Mosquito bites tend to be an all-year staple depending on where you live. Chances are, you have to deal with these small flying insects at some point or another. Luckily, the bites from mosquitos are usually just a nuisance and nothing more.
But that does not mean that you should take mosquito bites for granted. If left untreated, their bites can become itchy, bumpy, and in very rare cases, infected.
This blog discusses ways to relieve uncomfortable symptoms and recognise infected mosquito bites so you can better treat them.
Mosquito Bite Symptoms
Bites from mosquitos typically cause a stinging sensation followed by a red circular mound on the skin. The bites may look similar to a hive, which is also itchy with a tiny puncture in the centre.
Mosquitos are small, flying insects that mostly bite and suck for reproduction. While male mosquitos only eat flower nectar, the female ones will need both flower nectar and blood. They require protein from the blood to develop eggs.
When a mosquito bites your skin, it will inject saliva, which may trigger a natural reaction from your body. The body registers the saliva as an allergen, resulting in the immune system sending chemical histamine to the bitten area.
Histamine is the chemical that causes these bites to itch and swell.
Common signs of mosquito bite may include:
- reddish bump that appears a few minutes after the bite
- a large area of swelling and redness
- dark spots that look like bruises
- multiple hives
- a low-grade fever
- body aches
- swollen lymph nodes.
Some people may develop a more sensitive reaction to the mosquito saliva. In some children, bites from mosquitos can lead to swelling around the eyes and facial area more than in other parts of the body.
If a child experiences a more severe reaction, it is best to consult a healthcare provider.
How to Treat a Common Mosquito Bite
Try these first aid remedies for mosquito bite relief.
Use lotion or cream
Certain creams and lotions are available in the pharmacy to help temporarily relieve mosquito bites. Putting in calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream can help ease the itch. Reapply it several times a day until symptoms go away.
Apply a cold compress
Soothe the itchy pain in a swollen and red bite using a cold compress or cool cloth. Apply it for a few minutes several times a day for the best results.
Take oral antihistamines
A nonprescription antihistamine (such as Benadryl, Chlor-Trimeton, and others) is recommended for a stronger reaction to mosquito and insect bites.
The histamine causes the symptoms, and taking antihistamines helps prevent it from taking effect. People can take it in pill form, but other options include topical creams.
How to Prevent Mosquito Bites
Prevention is your chief goal when it comes to mosquito and insect bites. Here are some measures you can do to prevent your skin from being bitten:
- Get rid of any still or standing water that is a known breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- Use conventional pesticides or mosquito sprays when spending time outdoors.
- Wear protective clothing such as pants and long sleeves.
- Install screens and windows to keep mosquitos out.
- Stay indoors at dawn and dusk and in the early evening, where mosquito counts are highest.
In most cases, mosquito bites are not a cause for concern and will only cause red, itchy bumps. However, keep an eye out for any signs of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) and provide them with the appropriate care before advance help becomes available.
Learn first aid to recognise signs of anaphylaxis and how to treat them. Visit our website to learn more health and safety-related topics, including the importance of first aid training in a wide range of emergencies.