- Mosquito bites itch because mosquitos deposit saliva in your skin when they bite you.
- Saliva causes your immune system to react to the irritant triggering redness, itching, and swelling.
- To treat mosquito bites, avoid scratching them and use topical steroid medications.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.
Outdoor activities like barbeques and camping are often accompanied by the buzz of mosquitos, for which you can use a Mosquito Trap. These pesky insects want to feast on your blood, but they also leave behind itchy red welts. The reason for this itching comes down to your body’s response to the mosquito’s prick.
Why do mosquito bites itch?
We all know that mosquito bites are annoyingly itchy, but why? It has to do with the mosquito’s saliva and your immune system.
Not only do mosquitoes feed on your blood, they also insert saliva into your skin. This process causes your immune system to react to the irritant.
“Activation of the immune system in the skin can result in redness and itching, which is what occurs with a mosquito bite,” says Jeffrey M. Cohen, MD, Yale Medicine dermatologist and assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine.
Mosquito bite remedies
Thankfully, there are several remedies for mosquito bites to give you relief from that annoying itch. Cohen recommends trying these quick fixes:
- Don’t scratch them: Although the urge to itch can be overwhelming, avoid giving in.”Scratching irritates the area more than it already is, and makes the bite last longer and itch more,” says Cohen. Additionally, scratching bites may result in an infection.
- Topical steroid medications: These ointments reduce the immune activation in the skin, thereby reducing itchiness, Cohen says. An example of an over-the-counter steroid medication is hydrocortisone cream such as Cortizone 10.
- Analgesic anti-itch lotions: Analgesics are usually used for pain relief, but there are some that are specifically made for relieving itchiness. Cohen recommends Sarna‘s anti-itch lotion or Cerave Itch Relief Moisturizing Cream. He says both of these products will soothe skin and reduce itching.
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines like allergy meds can reduce some of the signals in your body that tell your skin to itch, Cohen says. An example of an antihistamine is Benadryl, who also makes an Itch Stopping Cream that Cohen recommends. You can use the childrens dose so it doesn’t make you drowsy.
- Avoid getting bitten: Cohen says the best remedy for mosquito bites is to avoid getting them in the first place. You can do this by wearing protective clothing and insect repellents.