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Why do mosquitoes bite? Actually, it is only the females that bite and they do so out of necessity ratther than pleasure. Female mosquitoes seek blood when they are preparing to lay eggs as they need the nourishment to produce healthy offspring. The mosquito's normal diet of plant juices contains none of the proteins a female needs in order to produce her eggs. For that, she needs a concentrated source of protein, which, unfortunately for us, is blood.
The usual mosquito bite treatments include:
• cool compresses
• anti-itching compounds
• anti-inflammatory medicines
For a cool compress, apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel or soak a washcloth in cold water and press it on the bite (packaged frozen foods also work well). The treatments listed are fairly inexpensive and available in most grocery, convenience, and drug stores.
It should be noted that some individuals are prone to more severe reactions to mosquito bites than others. If none of the aforementioned treatments alleviate the discomfort caused by a bite don't underestimate the severity of the situation. Seek medical attention to asses the problem.
Have you ever been in a situation where your child was suffering from an annoying insect bite and you didn't have a store-bought remedy readily available? Did you know that you could make a remedy yourself?
The simplest anti-itching compound is a simple paste that is easily made from ingredients commonly found in most households. The paste can be using only baking soda and water. To make, pour some baking soda into a small bowl and mix it with just enough water to make a sticky paste. Then, spread the mixture on the irritated bite(s) to induce instant relief. Calamine lotion works in a similar way (though the effect usually lasts longer).
What can you do about those pesky, itchy bites?! There are many remedies to help alleviate irritating mosquito bites. Anti inflammatory are useful mosquito bite remedies. Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) or naproxen (Alieve) can reduce redness, pain, itching, swelling and fever as well.
Topical steroid creams of various strengths can also be useful. Occasionally, reactions to mosquito bites can be severe enough to warrant systemic steroids. Some people are more prone to reactions from mosquito bites than others.
The most common treatment for mosquito bites is Calamine Lotion. This soothing lotion can provide relief from burning or itching during the few days it will take for a bite to heal.
Studies suggest that some natural anti-inflammatory remedies are very effective mosquito bite remedies in some people: oral evening primrose oil (Lancet) and papaverine (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology). You might find both of these products in a health food store.
Some more natural remedies and preventions against mosquito bites are:
• Insects are attracted to smells, so avoid concentrated perfumes and strong hair sprays in the summer.
• Bites or stings can be cooled and soothed with water, ice cubes or cold drink cans
• Use organic repellents to prevent getting bitten.
Many people wonder why mosquitoes bite, and, more to the point, why do mosquitoes bite humans. The truth is, however, that humans are not the first choice for most mosquitoes. In fact, mosquitoes seem to prefer bird hosts over any other host. Mosquitoes bite people when they get the chance, but they are better able to track the scent of animals most abundant in their habitat. So, if you're in an area with lots of animals you're less likely to be singled out as a meal.
One reason why mosquito bites are more common in humid climates is because mosquito thermal sensing is more acute when the humidity is high. In fact it can increase by as much of three times. If you want to avoid mosquitoes you may want to avoid exposing yourself to highly humid areas.
Mosquitoes have extremely poor eyesight. Their compound eyes are in a spherical arrangement and the eyes are separated by blind spots. At 30 feet they have difficulty distinguishing people from other objects of similar size and shape (tree stumps, large containers, etc.). When they get within 10 feet, however, they can sense body heat, at which point they can locate their victim.
When the female mosquito stabs her needle-like mouthparts through the skin of her victim, she injects her saliva -- teeming with digestive enzymes and anti-coagulants. The first time a person is bitten, there is no reaction. With subsequent mosquito bites, however, the person becomes sensitized to the foreign proteins, and small, itchy, red bumps are likely to appear about 24 hours later.
When mosquitoes bite they are injecting saliva containing anti-coagulants (which prevent blood from clotting) into their victim. As a result of this, a body's immune system will respond causing burning, itching, and swelling.
The effect of a mosquito bite on a person will depend on the sensitivity of the person. In most cases, itching and swelling subsides within several hours. In some highly sensitive people, however, discomfort may persist for several days.
*Scratching mosquito bites can result in infection if bacteria under fingernails are transferred to the wounds.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|