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Mosquito Bite FAQ’s: Resisting the urge to scratch

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Let’s face it: nobody likes mosquitoes. Or their bites.

But when you live in a city like San Antonio, mosquitos are a part of life. And it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere anytime soon.

That’s why we compiled a list answering a few popular questions people have about those unwanted pests. From the whys and what’s, to the do’s and dont’s of what to do if a mosquito lands on you.

Top Moquito Bite FAQ’s

Q1: Why do mosquitoes bite people?

Mosquitoes are nearly impossible to eliminate. They can adapt to changing environments and grow steadily in the summer months when temperatures are both hot and humid, or what we like to call mid-July San Antonio weather.

You may not know this, but only a small percentage of mosquitoes bite humans. And while that may come as a surprise to some, it’s because mosquitoes bite to reproduce, not to live.

Female mosquitoes bite people to gather protein from your blood for egg production. A mouthpart made to pierce skin enables them to extract blood from their host-of-the-moment. The female then uses the blood for an amino acid called isoleucine, allowing her to produce more eggs.

The scent of carbon dioxide and the chemicals in our sweat draws a female mosquito to her target.

Q2: What causes the skin to swell and itch after and around a mosquito bite?

A telltale sign that you have a mosquito bite is the red, swollen bump that appears shortly after. But take a closer look and you’ll notice that some bites are larger than others and that certain mosquito bites itch more than others. But why?

It might not make sense, but the bite itself doesn’t cause the red bump and itching. In fact, it’s your body’s immune system reacting to the proteins in the mosquito’s saliva. And while most people experience some level of allergic reaction, people with more severe reactions (i.e. larger, redder bumps) suffer from an allergy referred to as Skeeter Syndrome.

While children, toddlers, and seniors are the most commonly affected by Skeeter Syndrome, individuals who experience extreme symptoms such as fever, swollen eyes, and general malaise, should contact their doctor.

Q3: What’s the best way to stop a mosquito bite from itching?

The best way to relieve the itch is to wash the area with soap and water. Doing so will help stop the itch but also help prevent infection. Using a topical cream such as calamine lotion or an antihistamine can also help reduce the urge to itch.

If topical creams aren’t readily available to you, reaching for an ice pack or anti-inflammatory medications will also do the trick.

Q4: What happens if I continue to scratch my mosquito bites?

When your body reacts to a mosquito’s saliva, it creates histamines, causing the affected area’s blood vessels to swell, disturbing other nerves in the area that make your skin itch.

Though scratching a mosquito bite might offer temporary relief, doing so will only irritate and inflame the area even more. In some cases, scratching mosquito bites can lead to bleeding, secondary infection, and permanent skin damage.

Resisting the urge to scratch an itchy mosquito bite will help it heal in a timely and healthy manner.

Q5: Now that I know how to care for a bite, how can I protect myself against future bites?

Though most people develop immunity towards bites through repeated exposure, it’s best to be prepared. Luckily, there are many preventative measures you can take to protect yourself against the pesky animal.

One of the easiest changes you can make is to your wardrobe. If you plan on being outdoors for extended periods of time, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to limit the amount of exposed skin. You can also treat outdoor clothes with insect repellent for further protection.

Around your home, be sure to remove any sources of water, as mosquitos need water to reproduce. Unclog gutters and ensure your windows have wire gauze screens to keep mosquitos out and your family safe indoors.

Q6: What should I do if I have a mosquito infestation?

mosquito1Whether mosquitoes are ruining your backyard BBQ or you’ve just had enough of them, ABC Home and Commercial Services San Antonio can help.

Our Mosquito Management Program incorporates a different approach that covers the entire property and is less intrusive than repellents. Our pest control experts will inspect your property to ensure mosquitoes, and their itchy bites, remain at bay.

Learn More