Here at The Natural Patch Co, mosquitoes are our business. And trust us, we don’t want to be bitten by them any more than you do. But having knowledge about mosquitoes and their bites is vital for everyone. Parents and kids alike need to know how to spot their bites and how to treat them. And, most importantly — what goes into bite prevention.
So here we are today. We are giving you all the details on mosquito bites and the annoying itching sensation they leave behind. We want to arm all the parents out there with the information they need to keep themselves and their little ones safe from these pesky insects.
How To Spot a Mosquito Bite
Mosquito bites are different from other bug bites like mites or flea bites. Mosquito bites are larger, raised off the skin, and bright red. What sets them apart, of course, is the itching.
Did you know that only female mosquitoes bite? They do so when they require additional protein from our blood to help them lay eggs. We aren’t sure if that should make you feel better or worse.
But you should also know that they only bite humans if they can’t find a suitable animal source. We really are a last resort.
Why They Itch: Mosquito's Saliva
So we already know that a female mosquito bites when she needs the protein for breeding. But did you know that she tries to make it painless? That’s right; mosquitoes use their saliva to numb your skin.
This is to make sure you can’t feel anything when they bite and drink. The saliva numbs our arm or leg just long enough for the mosquito to get a quick drink, then leaves behind a lingering sensation that drives us up the wall.
Do you ever tell your kids, "try, try again?" Well, mosquitoes also live by this motto. A lady mosquito might bite up to 20 times to find a small blood vessel that meets her taste (and blood flow) requirement.
Your immune system detects this foreign substance, is on red alert, and sends out histamines. Histamines are key in fighting infection. Histamine from your body's immune system gives white blood cells a boost. It's not the saliva that our bodies hate; it's the histamine.
How Long Does It Last?
Typically, the itching sensation that accompanies a mosquito bite should only last for a few hours or days max. The itching should fade as the days wear on, so even if it still does itch up to three days later, it should be faint.
If your histamines left you at the inflammation station, don't worry. This figurative (and sometimes literal) headache is likely to disappear.
But sometimes, this doesn’t happen. There are instances when you have symptoms or itching that lasts longer and just gets more intense.
Here’s what you should know about this and when to seek medical attention.
Skeeter Syndrome is an allergic reaction to mosquito bites that is more intense than the normal reaction. While you should expect the typical red bump and itching, someone who is allergic to the saliva will also see swelling of the limbs and hives. The itching sensation will last longer and take a lot longer to fade. You might also experience body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue.
While rare and can happen to adults, the syndrome is most common in children. Small kids and babies don’t have the immunities that adults have. So they are more prone to serious allergic reactions to mosquitoes.
Just like with allergies to bees and peanuts, sometimes you need to seek medical attention. Look out for throat swelling and difficulty breathing (anaphylaxis is always serious).
Other Illnesses: Disease Control
Another reason we need to watch mosquito bites closely is for illnesses they carry. Mosquitoes are known to carry serious diseases like Yellow Fever, Malaria, and Zika Virus, to name a few. Even if every disease and virus they can carry isn’t deadly, the effects can be severe and very painful.
The hard part is catching it early enough to get symptoms under control and treatment started. This becomes especially difficult with our children as they don’t always tell us of issues they’re having until they’re pretty severe.
Watch for fevers, pain in the affected area, cramps, and nausea. If you exhibit any of these, see a doctor right away.
How To Prevent Bites
Keeping mosquitoes away is the best way to prevent any complications from bites.
Check out these steps you can take to keep from itching all day (and night):
BuzzPatches: Insect Repellent
Our BuzzPatches are the perfect tool to repel mosquitoes all day long. The blend of natural citronella and lavender essential oils is proven to keep mosquitoes away from you.
Mosquitoes are attracted to our body odor and breath, so this natural over-the-counter remedy will mask your scent. But unlike DEET and Picaridin (which are just UGH filled with dangerous chemicals), the BuzzPatch smells amazing... but only to humans.
They’re safe for babies, kids, and adults; the entire family will be able to use them worry-free. The best part? They go on clothes, not on skin, AND last for up to 24 hours. This means you and the fam can be out all day and night and not have to worry about bites.
Thin yoga pants and spandex are great for keeping us cool during runs and outdoor activities but not so great at protecting us from mosquitoes. Windbreaker material is the way to go to keep from getting bitten.
Mosquitoes can bite through thin material that clings to your body. Their noses can’t get through stronger material that fits more loosely. Think sleeves and long pants from dusk to dawn.
Be sure to be extra vigilant where you run also. Mosquitoes find us through our breathing. When we run, we release more carbon dioxide. It’s almost like wearing a target for mosquitoes.
How To Get Over the Itch
No matter how hard we try, we’re bound to get bit at some point. Getting bit, however, doesn’t need to be the worst thing in the world if you’re ready.
Here are a few home remedies to keep in your home to stop the itch faster:
If you thought we only had you covered before you got bit, think again. Our MagicPatch is a scientifically engineered patch technology that is guaranteed to relieve the itch. As soon as you spot bites on yourself or kids, reach for our MagicPatches and feel the itch fade away.
It works by pulling the saliva up to the top of the skin, so you’re able to get relief right away. The grid technology lasts for up to seven days, and they’re completely waterproof.
We don’t have to worry about the patches coming off in the shower or the kids playing too hard. It’ll last longer than the itching. You can finally say goodbye to the sticky creams, aloe vera gel, and calamine lotion that gets everywhere (your laundry is daunting enough as it is)!
Keep It Clean
The first thing to do as soon as bites appear is to clean the bitten area. Warm water and a good antibacterial soap are best. Cleaning the area will clear the bite of any residual saliva left on the top layer of skin. This won’t completely get rid of the itch but will clear a lot of saliva to alleviate the sensation.
A cold compress can help give you relief from the itching. It’s especially helpful for kids who are adamant about scratching. Scratching will spread the itching sensation to other extremities. So applying a cold compress will help to stop the sensation altogether.
Cold will alleviate the itch, and warm will help with the swelling. This is especially great for kids and parents that suffer from skeeter syndrome.
Extremities will swell in greater amounts, so applying warmth to the area will help swelling go down. It allows the blood to circulate better, redistributing the excess blood that traveled to the bite site.
Sounds like something your grandma might say, but baking soda paste does help relieve the itching sensation. Use warm water with enough baking soda to give it a thick but pliable texture.
Put it directly on the bite and let it sit for as long as possible. Up to an hour is ideal. It will help remove saliva not only from the top layer of skin but underneath as well.
It will also help with the swelling — a win-win.
Keep Those Bites Away
Staying bite-free is easier (and maybe even more fun) than some might expect. Outdoor playtime and family vacation, fear no longer!
You can rest easy at night knowing that mosquitoes are flying away all night and all day.