are annoying. What’s worse, mosquito bites sometimes transmit serious diseases, like West Nile virus, malaria and dengue fever.
You’re most likely to get
at dawn or dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
If you want to avoid chemical-based repellents, there are a few alternatives.
Soybean oil-based repellent is able to protect from
for about 1.5 hours. Oils, like citronella, cedar, peppermint, lemongrass, and geranium, provide short-lived protection at best.
Oil of eucalyptus products, may offer longer-lasting protection, according to preliminary studies. Endorsed by the CDC, oil of lemon eucalyptus is available under the “Repel” brand name and offers protection similar to low concentrations of DEET. Lemon eucalyptus is safe for children older than 3 years.
In the last few years, non chemical repellents worn as skin patches containing thiamine (vitamin B1), have been sold under the name “Don’t Bite Me!”
The science behind this repellent comes from a study done in the 1960s. It showed that thiamine (B1) produces a skin odor female mosquitoes don’t like.
No method is foolproof. If you do get bitten, the redness, swelling and itching may not show up for two days after you’ve been bitten, but usually shows fairly quick.
You can use oral antihistamines and topical lotions, to ease the itch from mosquito bites.
Typical signs of mosquito bites include soft, initially pale bumps on your skin that become pink or red and start itching.
If you’re highly sensitive to mosquito bites, you may have a much larger area of itching.
Rarely, a serious reaction to mosquito bites might occur, which causes swelling in the throat, hives and wheezing.
This is a life-threatening condition (anaphylaxis) and requires immediate medical attention. Similar to a bee sting or ant bites for people that are highly allergic.
Mosquitoes can transmit serious diseases like West Nile virus, malaria, yellow and dengue fever.
Signs and symptoms of a serious infection from a mosquito bite may include:
Neurological changes, such as one-sided muscle weakness
Sensitivity to light
Mosquito bites are a result of the bite of a female mosquito. The female mosquito feeds by piercing your skin with her mouth (proboscis) and eating blood. While sucking your blood, she also deposits some of her saliva into your skin. The saliva contains proteins that remain in your skin.
Your immune system then reacts to those proteins, resulting in the typical itching and mosquito bites bump.
Scientists do know that genetics account for about 85% of our susceptibility to mosquito bites. They’ve also identified certain elements of our body chemistry that, when found in excess on the skin’s surface, make mosquitoes come closer to us.
People with high concentrations of steroids or cholesterol on their skin surface attract mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are also attracted to people who produce excess amounts of certain acids, such as uric acid. These substances can trigger mosquitoes’ sense of smell, luring them to bite unsuspecting victims.
The process of attraction begins long before the landing. Mosquitoes can smell their dinner from an incredible distance of up to 50 meters.
Any type of carbon dioxide is attractive, even over a long distance. Larger people tend to give off more carbon dioxide, which is why mosquitoes typically prefer munching on adults to small children. Pregnant women are also at increased risk, since they produce a greater than normal amount of exhaled carbon dioxide. Movement and heat also attract mosquitoes.
The mosquitoes sense your movement and head toward you. When you pant from exertion, the smell of carbon dioxide from your heavy breathing draws them closer. So does the lactic acid from your sweat glands.
Mosquitoes select their victims by evaluating “scent, exhaled carbon dioxide and the chemicals in a person’s sweat.”
Other factors that may put you at greater risk of getting bitten. Mosquitoes are more likely to bite:
People with Type O blood
Since mosquitoes are attracted to heat, wearing dark colors, which absorb heat, may attract mosquitoes.
Age affects symptom severity
Adults may become less sensitized to mosquito bites after being bitten many times throughout life.
Adults are less likely to have strong reactions. Children, who haven’t been bitten as much, are at greater risk of experiencing symptoms from a mosquito bite.
If you scratch mosquito bites, any resulting sores could become infected.
More Severe Reactions to Mosquito Bites are called “Skeeter Syndrome.”
When a mosquito bite causes blistering rashes, bruises, or large areas of swelling at the bite sites, it’s severe. People who experience extremely large areas of swelling after a mosquito bite, (such as swelling of an arm or leg, for example) have been dubbed as having “Skeeter Syndrome.”
In rare situations, mosquito bites can cause hives and swelling, or worsening of asthma symptoms. Typically, these symptoms occur within minutes after a mosquito bite, compared to “Skeeter Syndrome,” which may take hours to days to occur.
Home Remedies for Mosquito Bites:
Apply apple cider vinegar directly on the bite areas.
Aloe vera will it help ease the itching and swelling from the bite, and will also aid in healing the wound. Use fresh gel directly from an aloe plant or aloe juice.
Rub a bar of dry soap directly on the bite. Wash it off after the itch fades away.
Another remedy for mosquito bites is to make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Apply this paste to the affected area. The swelling and itching will subside shortly afterwards.
A fresh slice of onion can also help take the sting out of a bite. Put a fresh slice on the affected area until the itching subsides.
Applying a small amount of all natural peppermint or neem based toothpaste. Allow the toothpaste to dry.
Take a small amount of honey and apply directly to the bite. Honey also helps prevent infection.
Apply a small amount of lime juice directly to the bites. Lemon juice also works well. This also helps keep the wound from becoming infected from the germs under your fingernails.
There are essential oils that can help provide temporary relief for mosquito bites also. Tea tree, rosemary, neem, lavender, witch hazel and cedar oil. Take a small amount and dilute it with water, then apply it directly to the bite.
Rub a piece of raw garlic on the wound. You might feel a small amount of mild burning, but you should feel some good relief afterwards. Don’t use for children. The smell of garlic will also help repel the mosquitoes from biting you more later.