Mosquito bite

Definition

A mosquito bite is a small skin lesion that appears when a mosquito bites a person. This is due to an anticoagulant injection by the insect to keep the blood fluid and not clog the tube through which it sucks blood.

Causes

Unlike other insects that bite to defend themselves, the female mosquito sucks human blood to feed. Blood is needed for the eggs to mature, so it is the females that sting.

When the mosquito bites us, it transmits its saliva which contains a product to prevent blood clotting. The organism responds immediately, mobilizing its defenses and releasing a substance called histamine. It is this response that causes the redness and itchiness in the bitten area.

Some skins are bitten more often than others. Dutch researchers demonstrated, at the beginning of 2012, that mosquitoes are attracted by certain bacteria on the skin and in particular by the odors given off by these microorganisms. As bacteria vary from skin to skin, this explains why some people get stung more often.

Mosquitoes also have a preference for certain synthetic odors, the use of perfume can contribute to the individual being bitten.

It’s the same for the climate: a temperature of around 15-30°C contributes to the arrival of mosquitoes, especially when the humidity is high.

Symptoms

Symptoms often reflect a skin reaction, but without seriousness for the body. What characterizes the mosquito bite is the constant habit of scratching. They are usually manifested immediately by one or several itchy red spots on the bitten area. Sometimes redness is accompanied by pain or swelling, but it is never dangerous, except for people with allergies who need to be more careful. Consult a doctor if there is an allergic manifestation (appearance of edema).

Treatments

Mosquito bite treatments can be preventive or curative.

preventive treatment

To avoid mosquito bites, the use of lotions, sprays or gels based on N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide and N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET) is recommended to be more effective. Applying these mosquito repellents all over your body repels mosquitoes and protects them from their bites. Care must however be taken, as these products are not suitable for children under two years old. The risk of side effects may occur. It is best to dress your child well to prevent him from being bitten.

In areas with a high frequency of mosquitoes, mosquito nets are by far the best form of protection. In addition to their effectiveness, they can be safely indicated even for small children.

For closed environments, the use of insecticides is another alternative to repel mosquitoes, but its use is not recommended if you have children.

Consider using a natural repellant. Plant pots with basil or geraniums on the edges of your windows, this way you will limit the entry of mosquitoes into your home. Put pots of tea infusion and add garlic cloves, they are also effective.

According to European authorities, there are three other substances other than DEET that act as skin repellents and effectively repel mosquitoes. These substances are: icaridine (picaridine or KBR3023), EBAAP (ethyl-butyl-acetylaminopropionate or IR3535) and citriodiol (PMDRBO, obtained from the Eucalyptus citriodora plant).

It is estimated that these 4 repellents are effective for a period of 2 to 5 hours after application, with variations depending on the concentration of the active ingredient and the outside temperature. (Source: Pharmavista.net, accessed July 18, 2014).

curative treatment

In the presence of signs of seriousness, it is essential to consult a doctor immediately.

In the case of a slight itch or pain, we can easily relieve it using a cold compress or a compress soaked in white vinegar.

There are also creams, ointments, gels, and lotions that relieve itching and are available from pharmacies.

Herbal medicine

Some essential oils have repellent activity, helping to repel mosquitoes. Citronella essential oil is the best known, but others such as basil , lemon , myrrh , rosemary , cedarwood or pine essential oils can also be effective.

If you’ve been bitten, applying the juice of crushed onion bulbs to the bite helps relieve pain and itching. You can also massage the bite with two drops of lavender essential oil.

Mosquito bite tips

In addition to the preventive measures mentioned above, some common sense attitudes will help and reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes:

– As soon as you turn on the lights in your room, remember to close the windows. Do not stay near sources of light or fire, as light and heat attract mosquitoes;

– Wear protective clothing, especially on arms and legs, to go out at night;

– Avoid wearing loose, very colorful or very dark clothes, because you can attract mosquitoes;

– Do not put on too much perfume, as some odors favor mosquito bites.

Prevention

We know that mosquitoes thrive in stagnant water, so to prevent this from happening, eliminate all reservoirs that are possible breeding sites. This is the case of reservoirs for the recovery of rainwater and all artificial containers: saucers, cachepots, toys, etc.

Remember that mosquitoes are more active at the end of the day, so to take advantage of the warmer nights, wear long clothes and light colors, and if possible, cover sensitive parts such as your arms and heels.🇧🇷

It is also possible to resort to repellents, apply them directly to the skin and clothes. The World Health Organization (WHO) mainly recommends DEET (N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) compounds, IR3535 (3-[N-acetyl-N-butyl]-aminopropionic acid ethyl ether) or icaridin (1 -piperidinecarboxylic acid, 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-methylpropylester). Look for these products in the list of compounds before choosing.

Scientific study on DEET, comparison with citronella The most effective product for preventing insect bites, including mosquito bites, is DEET (diethyltoluamide), according to a US study. Although the study is several years old, published in 2002, in the New England Journal of Medicine (DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa011699) , it is still current according to Prof. Stephen Gluckmann of the University of Pennsylvania. For the American professor and specialist in infectious diseases, interviewed in July 2018 by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) 
, this is the most complete comparative study. In this study, volunteers applied 16 products sold as anti-mosquito products to the skin of their arms. Then they put their arms in a cage full of mosquitoes. The best product was one that contained 24% DEET, protecting the volunteers for 301 minutes. In comparison, the best product containing a natural product, citronella essential oil, protected volunteers for 20 minutes.
In the interview given to the WSJ in July 2018, Prof. Gluckmann made another interesting point about the safety of using DEET, he said, so far, there has been no credible study showing a side effect of DEET other than an allergic reaction.

According to the WHO, anti-mosquito coils and other vaporizers (for example citronella) ” can also reduce insect bites in buildings “. And to sleep peacefully, the ideal is to have a mosquito net with insecticide around your child’s bed or hers.

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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