How To Treat a Mosquito Bite
4 Ways to Treating Mosquito Bites Quickly and Effectively
You or your child has been bitten by a mosquito. It itches like crazy and is starting to get irritated. So how to you treat a mosquito bite.
The itch and irritation are caused by the saliva that was injected into the bite site by the mosquito. The good news is that typically within a few hours, the irritation will start to diminish.
A small welt may develop into a sore on the skin where the bite occurred. While, this may be unpleasant to hear; one of the best ways to treat a mosquito bite is not to scratch it.
Scratching the infected area is a prime opportunity to let additional bacteria in, by opening the skin on the affected area, causing further infection.
Here are 4 Ways to Treat a Mosquito Bite
- Clean the affected area with non-perfume soap and warm water to remove as much of the mosquito saliva as possible.
- Apply calamine lotion or an over the counter anti-itch cream to prevent breakage of the skin, which can cause further irritation or infection.
- Place an ice pack on the bite to reduce itching.
- If possible take an over the counter antihistamine, which will block the action of histamine, a substance that is released by cells in your body in response to an allergic reaction. Itching is suppressed by antihistamine blocking of H1-receptors
Be sure to check exposed skin areas carefully to make sure that you treat all the affected areas. While antihistamines will work for all bites, you’ll want to make sure you’ve cleaned all the bites to prevent further irritation.
Once the bite has been treated, you may find that you or your child is left with a mark or reminder of where the bite spot was.
Rubbing Shea butter, cocoa butter or vitamin E tablets, on mosquito bites is a great way to help the skin heal and return to a normal pigmentation.
After a bath or shower, liberally rub the area with your choice of butter or oil for up to four weeks to see improvement.
How to Avoid Mosquitoes This Summer
It’s widely known that mosquitoes carry disease, including the West Nile Virus. While the risk of being bitten by a mosquito that carries the West Nile Virus remains relatively low, it is still beneficial to avoid mosquito bites, whenever possible.
The bite of a mosquito causes irritation and itching and is simply uncomfortable. Scratching a bite often makes the site of the infection look and feel even worse.
With daylight savings time, summer nights are even longer. Dusk and dawn are the primary meal times for most mosquitoes.
So how can you protect yourself and your family from being a tasty meal for these pesky insects this summer season?
1. Use an Insect Repellent Insect
repellents can take on many forms, from spray to wipes to lotions and even homeopathic products. With the exception of homeopathic products, most insect repellents are applied externally to exposed skin for people who spend time outdoors and or in areas, where insects may be prevalent.
In a recent study the CDC found that insect repellents that contain DEET (N, N-diethyl, m-toluamide) or picaridin (KBR 3023) can often provide individuals with longer protection than insect repellents that contain more natural or substantially different active ingredients.
Most pediatricians do not recommend using products containing DEET on children younger than 2 months old.
This leaves parents to choose a more natural option, when spending time outside with small and infant children. Eucalyptus and Peppermint oils have long been known as effect natural mosquito repellents, when used thoughtfully on the exposed skin of a child.
Baring aerosol sprays and lotions, insect repellent wipes offer a better sense of control in where the repellent can be applied to the skin, making the applicant a bit more direct and ensuring coverage on the exposed areas.
Keep in mind that even a short or limited time outside during the dusk hours can be long enough to get a mosquito bite.
2. Wear The Right Clothing
Wearing socks and long sleeves in the summer can feel uncomfortable, restricting and totally outside of the point of a carefree summer. However, covering exposed skin is one of the best ways to avoid a mosquito bite.
Some naturalists believe that wearing certain colors can actually deter a mosquito from biting you. The theory goes that mosquitoes are less attracted to light colors and more attracted to darker colors. When in fact, mosquitoes are attracted to heat and sweat. Because darker colors tend to absorb more heat, mosquitoes seemed to be more attracted to people wearing darker colors.
Moreover, people that sweat, usually do so to cool of their bodies, which have become overheated, thereby creating a scent and additional carbon dioxide that attracts mosquitoes. So, what is the best practice in what to wear, if you and your children will be enjoying a warm summer evening?
Light clothing will absorb less heat and be sure to protect exposed skin areas with insect repellent.
3. Avoid the Bewitching Hours
If you planned a trip to the beach and were told by the lifeguard on duty, that sharks are most active from 5PM-7PM, would you still enter the water wearing only shark repellent to protect yourself?
You may be thinking, “Well it depends on how strong my shark repellent is”. This is our point exactly. Knowing when mosquitoes are most active, which is dusk and dawn for many species of this particular insect is half the battle.
Knowing that you need to take extra care, when venturing out during these hours is the other half of the battle.
Wear protective clothing and use mosquito repellent during evening and early morning hours, if you are planning on spending any reasonable time outdoors.
4. Keeping Your Home Safe
Around your home, be sure to drain pools of standing water from flower pots, mop buckets and even unused bird feeders or fountains or trash lids.
Moreover, be sure to change your pets’ water, if your cat or dog has their water tray outside. Mosquitoes love to lay their eggs in standing water.
By limiting the number of places that mosquitoes can lay eggs, you will reduce or interrupt the breeding cycle of mosquitoes.
Become a weekend warrior and make sure that the screens around your doors and windows have been repaired and are well fitted to the doors and windows that they are covering.
5. Treat Your Gear
If you are planning any outdoor activities such as a day hike, bike riding or even camping; make sure to pre-treat your gear.
Insect can often be found is cool dark places, like shoes, seldom used backpacks, duffel bags or unwashed clothing. Treating your clothing and gear before an outdoor adventure can save you a lot of time and discomfort later.
Commercial aerosols and sprays like permethrin is a great way to pre-treat gear that may have been sitting at the bottom of your closet since last season. In summary, to avoid mosquito bites spray and pre-treat your gear and clothing.
Wipe exposed areas of skin with insect repellent. Avoid the mosquito feeding frenzy hours of dusk and dawn and clear standing water from around your home and office.
Contact your pediatrician before using mosquito repellents on children younger than 2 months old and always contact your vet, before applying your own repellent on your dog or cat.
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