‘’Don’t touch it!’’
‘’Stop scratching it!’’
I shout when my sons get mosquito bites.
It’s too tempting for them not to.
I watch as they scrape and rub until they lacerate their wounds.
Gross. It ain’t pretty.
The idyllic summer evenings, sitting outside on your porch or in your garden, relaxing with a cool drink.
Then out of nowhere you are rudely interrupted by insects buzzing about your head.
This leads to constant swatting and flapping.
Not relaxing AT ALL.
When summer hits, it brings with it dreaded allergies. From hay fever to insect bites and stings.
Not my idea of fun. ‘’No sirree!’’
We take precautions: sprays, citronella, essential oils, ridiculously long clothes. But we still get bitten.
It’s so draining.
For some of us, little insect nips can turn into a nasty, infected rash.
Or even worse, blistering, bruising and swelling.
Kids are particularly vulnerable to bites. Adults typically have less serious reactions.
The more often you get bitten, the more desensitized you become.
If your mosquito bite swells up bigger than the Empire State, and looks as red as a fire truck, then you may be allergic to their pecks (not those pecs, naughty!).
And the bite could get infected.
You need to know the difference so you can apply the correct treatment.
I can feel your anxiety levels increasing.
Read on to see how to get prepped.
You know the insane itch you feel after a bite?
Well that's the female mosquito (we get all the dirty jobs) French-kissing your skin. And leaving a saliva gift behind in your blood.
Spitting into your body to thin the red plasma. Nice!
Feels like a bad sorority initiation ritual for Kappa Arachna Delta.
When you feel the itch, you are having a reaction to their blood-sucking. And scratching too much can result in breaking the skin, potentially causing infection.
Some people have more severe reactions than others. Babies and kids have worse effects due to their sensitive skin, and bad bruising can occur.
Another unwanted episode of Itchy and Scratchy.
What are you looking for?
Get your mosquito bite Girl Scout badge by seeking out the following signs.
Standard bite symptoms:
- Looks – slight swelling and itchy, red bump.
- Length – does size matter? Yes, in this case! A typical mosquito bite is less than a ½-inch across.
- Lasts – the itching fades, skin is less red in about 3 or 4 days. The skin will recover in about a week.
(See our Essential Oil blog for general bite relief info)
My bite is big and swollen. It’s angrier than Mike Tyson in ‘’The Bite Fight’’ with Evander Holyfield!
Is it infected? Am I over-reacting?
Mosquito’s nibbles can easily become contaminated.
Can’t resist giving your skin a good old scratch?
If you’re a glutton for punishment, it could lead to bleeding and infection, and eventually welts forming.
An infected mosquito lesion can lead to major redness and swelling. It will feel hot to the touch and could be coupled with a fever.
For general bites and infections get your Maleficent cloak dusted down and try these remedies on the bump to reduce irritation.
- Keep clean and dry.
- Use a cold compress or ice cubes to reduce the swelling.
- Avoid scratching the area or bursting any blisters, to reduce the risk of infection
- If your child has been bitten or stung, it may help to keep their fingernails short and clean.
- Hydrocortisone, vitamin E cream, calamine or aloe vera lotion, will help with the swelling and itching. Rub directly onto the bite.
- Skeeter Syndrome
A severe local reaction that happens to some of us sensitive puppies is called Skeeter Syndrome.
It can cause limbs to swell to twice their normal size and can take up to 48 hours after the bite for this serious allergic reaction to appear.
To aid recovery from Skeeter Syndrome follow these methods:
- Raise or elevate the affected area if possible, to help reduce swelling.
- Use a hot cloth compress on the skin to relieve the symptoms.
- As with general bite relief use Hydrocortisone or any calming lotions. This will help with the swelling and itching. Rub directly onto the bite.
- Taken orally, an antihistamine like Benadryl can quickly reduce an allergic reaction to a bite.
***SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE IF THE SYMPTOMS PERSIST***
2. Systemic Mosquito Bite Reactions
Although rare, mosquito bites can lead to a severe reaction. Symptoms can include:
- Swelling around the lips and mouth
- And even anaphylactic shock
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! Be sure to seek medical treatment immediately if you think you are having an allergic reaction to a bite.
Forearmed is forewarned in these circumstances.
Scary part over.
Prevention is key to keep you and your family bite-free, and in turn, ward off the allergic reactions.
Why not give these tried and tested ideas a go and give those critters the boot.
Time: try to avoid outdoor activities from dawn to dusk when mosquitoes are most active. They love nothing more than getting up early for a game of cards, and stay up late partying like Leonardo in Vegas.
Repellent: for keeping mosquitoes at bay, use DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus (a plant-based compound). You shouldn’t use DEET on kids under 2, stick with home-made remedies and sprays.
Clothing: Get dressed like you’re going skiing in Aspen with long sleeved tops and pants. Spraying your clothing with repellent can be an effective protection as well. Maybe leave the sled at home!
Fix: Mesh screens allow air to come in but keep bugs out. Repair tears in screens on windows and doors. Get your DIY groove on.
Nets: Use mosquito netting over strollers, cribs and your own beds, to build up your home defense.
Standing water: Mosquitoes love nothing more than a quick dip in stagnant water. They like it so much that they get all hot and bothered, and breed like insect rabbits. Get rid of any buckets, flowerpots, puddles, or untreated pools to cut down their lovemaking.
(Go read our Rid Your House of Mosquitoes blog for more prevention steps)
This is a lot to take in I know, and I don’t want to be a buzz-kill (pun intended).
If you or your family have bite allergies, it’s important to be proactive.
Stay ahead of the game to prevent them today, and take the easy steps provided to fight the pest.
Be alert! Stay vigilant! Be ready for action!
BUT … have fun with your family and use your well-honed instincts.
And remember don’t scratch!