If you live in an area where there are plenty of bushes and plants, clogged gutters or pools of standing water, then you are more likely to come in contact with mosquitoes and their dreaded bites. It all depends upon their species; some prefer clean water whereas some prefer polluted standing water. For most species of mosquitoes, stagnant water is their favorite place to breed. Although their life spans are short, they can be a nuisance to us. Mosquitoes cause itchy bites and spread deadly diseases.
When a mosquito bites you, it causes a considerable area of your skin to swell. Mosquito bites can also cause soreness and redness. Little bumps appear that are itchy and extremely uncomfortable. The bumps cause irresistible desire to itch but it’s best not to scratch them; else they worsen. To produce eggs, female mosquitoes need to consume very little amounts of blood from humans or animals. Every time a mosquito bites, a small amount of their saliva is left behind. Hence, the immune system of humans and animals gets triggered and responses by causing inflammation in the affected area.
Male mosquitoes do not extract blood. They don’t have a suitable proboscis (elongated sucking mouthpart) to do so. In addition, not all female mosquitoes carry diseases. Therefore, there are harmless mosquito bites as well as dangerous ones. Sometimes, mosquitoes carry viruses, severe diseases, and parasites that can result in serious illness. Mosquito-borne diseases include malaria, West Nile virus, dengue, yellow fever, and even encephalitis (acute brain inflammation).
Mosquito bites come with substantial health risk but precautions can be taken to stop matters from getting worse. There are simple home remedies available that you can use to get rid of those nasty mosquito bites. It’s possible that symptoms like fever, joint pain, headache or any other severe reactions appear after you’ve been bitten by a mosquito. In such cases, we recommend that you consult with your doctor immediately.
- What Causes Mosquito Bites to Itch?
- Home Remedies to Get Rid of Mosquito Bites and the Itch Caused by Them
- Mosquito Diseases & Allergies
- Precautions to Prevent Mosquito Bites
What Causes Mosquito Bites to Itch?
The mosquito saliva that is left behind after it bites you is recognized as a foreign body by your immune system. In response, it wants to get rid of the intruder. Your immune system produces histamine which causes the surrounding area of the bite to swell. A signal is then sent by histamine to the nerves around the bite. Everyone has a different reaction to mosquito bites. Some might have a stronger tolerance to the saliva of a mosquito than others.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Mosquito Bites and the Itch Caused by Them
The following affordable items can be used for instant relief from mosquito bites
- Aloe Vera
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Baking Soda
- Calamine Lotion
- Chamomile Tea
- Essential Oils
- Lemon Balm
- Sandalwood and Lemon Juice
- Vicks VapoRub
Use these home remedies to get rid of mosquito bites and the desire to itch that comes with them.
Aloe Vera is a common household plant and has been known to be helpful in increasing the rate of healing processes. The gel inside the Aloe Vera plant has anti-inflammatory properties; it can be rubbed onto the skin as a substitute for medication.
For this remedy, you need to extract the gel from the Aloe Vera leaves. Although that is a hefty task, the hassle is worth it. After you’ve extracted the plant’s gel, apply it to the affected area. Let it dry and reapply accordingly. You can also refrigerate the gel before application to accelerate the process.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The acid in the apple cider vinegar helps the bites heal faster. It also helps in reducing the size of the bite.
To heal an itchy bite and reduce the burning and stinging impacts, dab some apple cider vinegar directly on it. If the itching persists, soak a clean cloth in apple cider vinegar and cold water. Apply the cloth to the bite.
For multiple bites, try a vinegar bath. Fill your bathtub with lukewarm water and pour 2 cups of vinegar in it. Soak in the tub for about 20 minutes.
- Do not repeat this treatment if skin irritation continues.
- Hot water can cause skin irritation to worsen
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is readily available and a cost-effective remedy. Nowadays, baking soda is basically used for anything and everything. Along with all its other vast applications, baking soda can also be used to relieve irritated skin from mosquito bites.
All you need to do is take 1 tbsp of baking soda and add water as required to make a thick paste. Apply a coat of the paste to the affected area and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water.
Do not repeat this treatment if skin irritation continues.
According to some studies, basil consists of a chemical compound called eugenol that helps in relieving itchy skin. If you have some basil lying around at your home, then those aromatic leaves will do the trick.
Make a basil mask by adding a ½ ounce of dried basil leaves to 2 cups of boiling water. Let the liquid cool. Now take a clean cloth and dip it in the water. Rub it gently on your irritated skin.
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making a mixture, simply finely chop some fresh basil leaves and rub them on your mosquito bites.
Calamine lotion is a pink colored mixture of zinc oxide and iron oxide. It is an inexpensive remedy for skin irritation. Usually, a soothing sensation follows after application. Burning or stinging does not occur. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any other medication, it is recommended to consult your doctor before using calamine lotion.
Shake the bottle well and dab a generous amount of the lotion onto the mosquito bite. Let it dry. Once dried, wash with lukewarm water. Repeat, if required.
Chamomile tea can be used to heal both an itchy throat and an itchy bite. The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cleansing properties in the tea help in reducing inflammation and speeds up the healing process.
Soak a tea bag of chamomile tea in water and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove the tea bag and squeeze any excess water from it. Apply it directly to the affected area and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Now take a clean cloth and wipe your bite with it. Refrigerate the tea bag to re-use later.
One of the smells that mosquitoes hate is of garlic. It’s known as a natural mosquito repellent. It is not recommended to apply a sliced garlic clove directly to sensitive skin as it may cause burning sensations.
You can benefit from garlic’s natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties by mixing it with other soothing products. Mix fresh, finely chopped garlic with coconut oil or unscented lotion. Apply on the bite and leave it for 10 minutes. Wipe with a clean dampened cloth. Repeat later if the itching continues.
If you use the correct essential oils for your mosquito bites, they can be extremely effective. Essential oils target itchiness and inflammation. These oils are obtained naturally through a process called distillation which gives them the characteristic plant odor.
For temporary relief, you can use essential oils like tea tree, cedar, lavender, neem, and rosemary. Dilute any of these oils of your choice in water and rub on your bite.
Honey has a lot of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Thus it is a natural remedy that works like magic on sore areas on your skin. Honey has been used over the years to stop the growth of germs on bruises and bumps.
Apply a coat of honey on the skin area affected by mosquito bites and leave it there. You can reapply as required. It should reduce the inflammation and also you’ll scratch your skin less as you wouldn’t want to create a gooey mess now, would you?
One of the cheapest home remedies to reduce inflammation is ice. Cold temperatures also help in numbing the irritated skin which results in short-term relief.
You can put the ice directly on the irritated skin but don’t leave it for more than 5 minutes. It is recommended to wrap the ice with a thin cotton cloth. Alternatively, you can take an ice pack (crushed ice in a bag) and press where the mosquito bites are. You will feel instant relief.
Lemon balm is a plant that is easy to grow. It is used as a natural mosquito repellent. Natural components in the lemon balm like tannin and polyphenols work together to reduce inflammation, to reduce the risk of contamination, and quicken the healing process.
Chop the lemon balm leaves finely and apply directly to your mosquito bites. Lemon balm essential oils are also available to make the job easier.
Use your most-loved breakfast as a mosquito bite remedy. The anti-irritant ingredient in oatmeal causes the itching and swelling to reduce.
Take equal parts of oatmeal and water and mix them into a paste in a bowl. Scoop out some paste on a clean towel and apply it on the affected area. The paste side should be touching your skin. After about 10 minutes clean the area with a dampened cloth or rinse with water.
For multiple bites, an oatmeal bath would work. Fill your bathtub with lukewarm water and add 1 cup of oatmeal in it. Soak your body in the bathtub for about 20 minutes. Rub oatmeal clumps on the affected areas as required.
Although onions cause teary eyes, they work as a great remedy to get rid of mosquito bites. The natural antifungal properties in onions can help reduce the risk of contamination.
You can use any type of onion. Slice one onion and apply one slice directly on the affected area. Leave it on the mosquito bite for a few minutes. After removing the onion slice, wash the area thoroughly with water.
Salt has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is a cost-effective home remedy to treat mosquito bites and it helps draw out the toxin that is causing the itch.
Simply mix some table salt in water. Apply the mixture on your bite. You can also mix equal parts of seasoning salt and garlic salt in water and apply the mixture on your irritated skin.
Sandalwood and Lemon Juice
Studies suggest that sandalwood’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties help in reducing inflammation and the risks of infections.
Mix equal amounts of lemon juice and sandalwood powder into a paste. Apply the mixture on your mosquito bite. Leave it to dry. Rinse with water.
You can also use sandalwood oil directly on the affected area.
A basic dry bar of soap can be used to reduce skin irritation temporarily and disinfect the bite area.
Rub the dry soap directly to your mosquito bite. As soon as the itch starts vanishing, wash the soap thoroughly.
Use toothpaste (not gel) to reduce the annoying itch that is a result of mosquito bites. Minty flavors work the best as the menthol acts as a cooling agent.
Apply a small quantity of peppermint, neem or spearmint flavored toothpaste on your mosquito bite. Leave it to dry. Leave it for as long as you want to distract your mind from the urge to scratch.
The antibacterial and antifungal properties of thyme help in reducing the chances of contamination and infection around the skin affected by mosquito bite.
Boil some water and add a few thyme twigs to it to make a concentrated mixture. Let the thyme sprigs soak in the water until it cools down. Now dip a clean cloth in the concentrated liquid and apply it to your bites. Leave it there for several minutes. You can also wrap the cloth soaked in thyme around an ice cube and apply it to the bite.
Thyme leaves can also be applied directly to the skin. Chop the thyme leaves finely and apply them on the mosquito bites on your skin. Leave them there for about 10 minutes.
Turmeric is known to be used to treat various minor ailments. Turmeric has curcumin in it which makes it so useful in multiple ways. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent, curcumin, can help soothe itching. Turmeric’s powerful aroma also acts as a natural mosquito repellent.
Mix equal parts of turmeric powder and water to make a paste. Apply the mixture directly to your bite and leave it to dry. Wash off the paste with clean water.
The eucalyptus oils and menthol in the balm, both have anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore Vicks VapoRub helps in reducing inflammation and also the desire to itch.
Apply some of the Vicks VapoRub balms directly to the affected area. This method can be repeated two to three times.
Summer has arrived along with mosquitoes and mosquitoes come with mosquito-borne diseases. Although it is best to prevent mosquito bites in the first place, that is not always possible. The above easy and cost-effective home remedies will help you survive!
Mosquito Diseases & Allergies
Mosquito bites can be a nuisance, but they can also be dangerous. These blood-sucking creatures can transmit a number of diseases that can be deadly in some cases.
Some people also have mosquito allergies that can cause severe reactions.
Common mosquito-borne diseases include:
An ancient disease, malaria likely originated in Africa. It was described by the Chinese in 2700 BC and the Sumerians in 1700 BC. This disease is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquitoes.
About 40% of the world’s population is at risk for contracting this disease, and between 300 and 500 million cases are reported each year.
With a higher standard of living, mosquito insecticides and the advent of DDT, malaria is no longer the large threat it once was.
Malaria can cause:
- Muscle or abdominal pain
- Rapid heart rate
- Mental confusion
- Night sweats
Malaria can be treated by a medical professional. Treatments can resolve the condition in days to weeks.
2. Mosquito Zika
The Zika virus also emerged from Africa, and it has rapidly spread throughout the western hemisphere and the South Pacific.
The virus is a Flavirus that is related to Yellow Fever, West Nile and the equine encephalitis. It was first discovered in 1947 in monkeys living in the Zika Forest of Uganda.
In 2014, the virus was discovered off the coast of South America, and is now present in 35 countries in the Americas.
Symptoms are often mild and last less than a week in otherwise healthy individuals. Common symptoms include:
- Joint pain
- Red eyes
While less common, other people may experience:
- Loss of appetite
The primary concern with this virus is that it can be passed from pregnant women to their unborn fetuses. The infection can cause birth defects, such as severe microcephaly, which causes the skull to collapse.
3. West Nile Virus
The West Nile Virus first emerged in 1936 from Uganda to Europe, central Asia and the Middle East. This virus is also a Flavivirus.
Symptoms of this disease may last a few days, or several weeks, depending on the severity of the infection and the health of the infected person.
At least 63% of patients report experiencing symptoms that last 30 days or more.
There have been 36,437 reported cases of West Nile Virus as of 2014. Among these, 1,538 of the cases were fatal.
About 80% of human cases have very few or no symptoms.
4. Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever has been around for at least 400 years. Currently, it is only found in tropical areas of the Americas and Africa. Travelers rarely catch this illness now, as countries have vaccination requirements and regulations.
About 200,000 cases are reported each year, and 30,000 of those result in death.
A serious arboviral disease, dengue is found in Africa, the Americas and Asia. Its mortality rate is low, but the symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable.
Still, the disease is rare, with less than 20,000 cases reported in the U.S. each year.
- High fever
- Muscle and joint pain
- Loss of appetite
- Sore throat
6. Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases
Aside from the diseases listed above, mosquitoes can also transmit:
- Dog heartworm
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis
- St. Louis Encephalitis
- Western Equine Encephalitis
- LaCrosse Encephalitis
7. Mosquito Bite Allergy
Some lucky people have no reaction to mosquito bites. The bites don’t itch, and they don’t swell.
But some sensitive people have quite the opposite reaction: serious swelling and intense itching. Some even develop hives or more serious allergy symptoms.
Signs of a mosquito allergy include:
- Larger hives
- Blistering lesions
- Joint swelling
- Anaphylaxis (rare)
Now you know why mosquito bites itch, and some of the diseases these insects can spread. How can you treat bites to speed up healing and stop the itch? We’re going to share some natural remedies to put the itching and swelling behind you.
Precautions to Prevent Mosquito Bites
Precaution is still better than cure. Here are simple safety measures that you can take to prevent mosquito bites.
Covering yourself under the hot, scorching sun can be a torture. However, dealing with mosquito bites is worse! Wear long-sleeved and loose-fitting clothes and make your children wear the same. Opt for pastel colors as dark colors tend to attract mosquitoes.
Use a Mosquito Repellent
Easily available in stores, mosquito repellents are effective in preventing mosquito bites. If covering yourself completely is not a suitable option for you, use insect repellents. Follow the instructions on the container carefully and apply the repellent on your exposed body parts.
Keep Your Surrounding Areas Clean
Mosquitoes tend to gather up in standing water. It’s their favorite place to be. Make sure you get rid of any open containers that may hold water.
Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Use a bed net to cover yourself while you sleep. The bed net will keep the mosquitoes away from you and you won’t have to worry about those unpleasant bites.
Reconsider Your Perfume
Love to smell like roses? Ask yourself; are flower scented perfumes worth the pain? The nectar from the flowers attracts mosquitoes as much as humans do. Use a less floral perfume this summer and save yourself from terrible mosquito bites.
Take necessary precautions to avoid getting mosquito bites but if those creatures still strike, you now know what to do!