Mosquitoes are biting, flying insects that are a source of great irritation for animals and people alike. Only female mosquitoes bite, as they need a blood meal in order to produce eggs. Bites generally occur on exposed skin such as the hands, neck, face, and ankles. Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, body odor, light, heat, and perspiration.
Once a female mosquito has landed on a human and bitten them, she injects her saliva into the wound. Her saliva contains properties that keep the blood from clotting and allows it to flow into her mouth. Unless disturbed, she will continue to feed until her abdomen is full. After a bite has occurred, a small amount of the mosquito’s saliva is left in the wound as it is this that causes the symptoms.
The immune system of the individual that was bitten by the mosquito is what reacts to the saliva. Redness, swelling, and intense itching are usually localized and last for several hours to a day or two. Occasionally, the same symptoms can occur as a delayed reaction. Washing the area with soap and water, not scratching, and applying anti-itch products can decrease the length of the symptoms.
True allergic reactions to mosquito bites are rare. If dizziness or nausea occurs this could be an indication of a severe reaction to the bite and medical attention should be given promptly. Additionally, care should be taken if an individual was bitten in a high risk disease area as mosquitoes carry many different viruses, diseases, and parasites that are transmissible to humans.
Malaria, yellow and dengue fever, and encephalitis are all examples of diseases that have been transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. Fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and body aches are all symptoms that should not be taken lightly when an individual has been bitten by a mosquito.
Having less exposure to mosquitoes is the best way to prevent bites. Stay away from infested areas at dawn and dusk. Wear long sleeves and applying mosquito repellant. Remove any standing water from close to your home.