Who and Why Mosquitoes Bite
Male mosquitoes are actually mild mannered vegans living on nectar and plant juices and only females bite; they need the protein from human and animal blood to build eggs.
Blood seeking female mosquitoes are drawn to their targets by a combination of odors from the skin and breath (CO2). They can also detect heat and movement and are strongly attracted to human sweat. So bear in mind, the more you swat, the more you sweat, the more of a target you become.
According to Joseph Conlon, technical adviser with the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), the 176 species of mosquitoes found in the U.S., feed on birds, reptiles, humans and other animals; but its those that feed on birds and humans that are the most dangerous.
And while only one mosquito in a thousand carries disease organisms, just one bite from the wrong mosquito can change a life. “We don’t have to kill all of the mosquitoes, but if we kill some of them or prevent some from being born that will lessen the amount that transmits to humans,” he said. (source)
There are number of things you can do to prevent mosquito bites like wearing repellents and using mosquito traps. And a number of ways to treat the allergic reaction that occurs if one of the biters does manage to slip past your defenses.
Mosquito Bite Relief
- First wash the infected area with soap and water. This will provide temporary relief from the itch and will also wash away any bacteria on the skin.
- Don’t scratch the bite – excessive scratching can cause skin damage and lead to infection.
- Apply a cool compress or an ice pack to the bite.
- OTC medications such as calamine lotion and cortisone creams can relieve itching for a significant period of time. Homemade remedies include dabbing vinegar or a paste made from baking soda and water to the bite.
- If you are one of the unlucky few who experience allergic reactions to mosquito bites, OTC anti-inflammatory medications like Motrin or Advil that contain ibuprofen can help to reduce redness, pain, itching, swelling and fever.
If, after you’ve been bitten, you start feeling sick and experience flu-like symptoms including nausea, fever, a headache or stiff neck, then there’s the chance that mosquito bite left you with something worse than just an itch and you should seek medical attention sooner rather than later.