Mosquito bites are a common part of life: The bite that stings and the bug bite that we can't stop scratching. How many times have we gotten bit in just a day? A week? As adults, we have been bitten more times than we could ever be able to count, but our kids have not.
We as adults most often do not think twice about our bites, especially after we have applied some treatment. However, our children are not as used to pesky mosquitoes as we are. This means that they are much more likely to have a worse reaction to a mosquito bite.
Keep reading to learn more about mosquito bites, why these bugs are out to ruin our family fun, and when to be concerned about bites on our children.
Why Is a Mosquito Bite Itchy Anyway?
When a mosquito bites, it actually sucks up a small amount of blood. This has been common knowledge for as long as we can remember. But mosquitoes don’t just take our blood and leave. In fact, while taking our blood, mosquitoes leave something behind: their saliva. As gross as it is, it's the truth.
As opposed to spiders, bees, wasps, and ants, mosquitoes do not have any venom. Instead of venom, it is the mosquito's saliva that fuels the red bumps and uncontrollable itchiness. Mosquito saliva contains a protein that causes mild reactions in most everyone, and in some cases, not-so-mild reactions. This is why some people get affected a lot worse by mosquitoes.
The saliva is almost as hard to get rid of as glitter in the family room’s carpet. So, the itch stays until dealt with, or it becomes able to drain out. Most of us use creams or sticks of some medicine to treat bites, but these are slow to provide relief and actually target the itch instead of the actual problem.
Why Are Mosquito Bites Bad?
The most obvious reason is the unrelenting itchy feeling! Even adults, we cannot stand the itchiness that comes hand-in-hand with mosquito bites, always using some type of itch relief cream.
When you look deeper into mosquitos, they have been and are carriers of more than a few diseases. Each of the diseases spread by mosquitoes can have lasting symptoms, and even in severe cases, can be life-threatening.
- Dengue Fever
- West Nile Virus
- Yellow Fever
- Zika Virus
- Skeeter Syndrome
While scary, remember, these are the worst cases scenarios and tend to be quite rare.
Not sure when to call your doctor? We have the answers below!
Look Out For. . .
So, what are mosquito bite symptoms? Well, first, you need to make sure that your bite is actually from a mosquito. Mosquito bites tend to be small red or pink bumps, sometimes accompanied by bruising, or may have a small red circle in the middle of the bite. Other reactions can look like small blisters or even dark spots.
If your bite is larger than the size of a quarter, look out for these symptoms of severe allergic reactions to the mosquito saliva:
- A large area of itching
- Bruises around the bite
These are symptoms that should send you to the ER immediately:
- Anaphylaxis (swelling in the throat, difficulty breathing, or wheezing)
- Severe headache or severe pain
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Flu-like symptoms
- Light sensitivity
All of these symptoms are your causes for concern. They are the signs that you need immediate medical attention. Do not put it off, and keep a watchful eye on any bites for safety’s sake.
Treatments for Insect Bites
It is quite alarming to read through that list of possibly dangerous symptoms, especially since some are common with other things. Fear not: There are solid ways to relieve the itching sensation and the harmful effects that can come with it.
What Are Your Options?
There are really five ways to approach dealing with bites when it comes down to it.
First, do not forget about the natural DIY solutions you have at home, such as ice. Ice packs, ice baths, or even a washcloth dunked in icy water can be used to numb the bite and ease inflammation.
Additionally, there are the calamine lotions or hydrocortisone creams: both viable options.
Premade itch relief is also an option. Antihistamines and lemon balm cream have proven to be useful as well. There are plenty of antihistamines available over the counter. Essential oils such as lemon are growing in their popularity as a solution, too.
Do your kids rub off sticky and smelly creams before they can actually work?
Yeah, us too. That’s where The Natural Patch Co.
Works Like Magic: Stop the Itch
The final (and our favorite) treatment option is MagicPatch. MagicPatch contains no chemicals, toxins, or gimmicks. It provides relief through its structure and eliminates the need for creams, oils, or ice. The Natural Patch Co. created MagicPatch to help calm parents’ worries about mosquito bites.
MagicPatch targets the problem, using its gridded pattern to help readjust to the proper blood flow and allow the bite to drain, offering lasting relief.
One MagicPatch lasts up to seven days: a lot longer than those creams that have to be reapplied over and over again. Plus, they are waterproof so that nothing can stop a day at the pool, beach, or running through sprinklers.
Whether you prefer lotions, creams, ice, essential oils, or a simple, easy-to-use sticker, your options are extremely varied. We dunno about you, but it’s no fun to stop a family adventure to pester our kids about keeping their long sleeve shirts and long socks on or following them with icky sprays and creams.
How can we keep the mosquitoes away from our kids in the first place?
What Can We Do?
The best thing to do would be to avoid getting any bites altogether. Mosquito bites are the heart of the problem. To avoid getting bitten entirely would solve any issues. However, no one is perfect, and it is near impossible to survive an entire life free from mosquitoes unless you live in Antarctica.
Protect at All Costs
To best avoid mosquitoes, you must know what attracts them. Our human smell is their main way of identifying prey, though they use their weak sight as well.
There are some easy steps to ensure a lesser probability of being targeted:
Scents, Smells, and Sickness
One such way is to avoid any strong body scents. Perfumes, especially floral ones, lotions, colognes, etc., draw in mosquitoes. Body odor does as well. Alcohol is an attractive scent to mosquitoes too. Bacteria, specifically around ankles and feet, have been proven to be bitten more by mosquitoes than other less bacteria-prone places.
Layer, layer, layer.
Mosquitoes can bite through tight clothing. It is best to wear loosely fitting long sleeves, long pants, and long socks. Do not be afraid to accessorize with protective wide-brimmed hats (those with SPF in the fabric can prove even better).
Why Are Mosquitoes So Good at Finding Us?
Our blood types, for one. Type O is the most appetizing blood type to mosquitoes. Pregnant women are also bitten twice as often as people who are not pregnant. Carbon dioxide and sweat are some unstoppable factors that mosquitoes love to smell.
Guess what? When you are pregnant, things are a little harder and so you tend to sweat more and breathe a little heavier. Mosquitoes are unable to resist warm body temperatures; when they feel the warm body, they head straight for it. Good news, though: they have to be pretty close to feel that.
Use Proper Insect Repellent
Everyone knows about mosquito repellent spray. We have all seen the convenient bracelets and electric bug zappers. We understand, really we do. But despite our desperation, we must be careful what we allow our children to use.
There are the ever-present DEET sprays. DEET is banned in Canada and has been known to melt through plastic… Not really something we want on the people who matter most to us in the history of ever.
Picaridin is the most common DEET substitute, but, hey, it’s still full of poorly-researched chemicals.
Something To Buzz About
Natural options have been rising in demand. There are tons of plants that were used to protect humans long before DEET or Picaridin was ever thought of.
That’s why we created BuzzPatch to tell mosquitoes to hit the trails and leave our families alone. BuzzPatch uses a blend of essential oils and lasts for up to eight hours. It is a sticker, so not only are they safe and environmentally-friendly, but kids can stay safe while having fun.
As parents, we have so much to worry about: Let’s cross mosquito bites off that list.