The all-year-round heat and tropical climate are amongst the first few descriptors that come to mind when people think of Singapore. Aside from all the fun under the sun, the tropical climate is widely known as prime habitat for mosquitoes. These pests can ruin your summertime activities, causing itchy red bumps and are capable of carrying severe diseases such as Zika virus, Dengue, Chikungunya and more.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mosquito bites cause the deaths of more than 1 million people every year. Majority of which are due to malaria. While not all mosquito bites are harmful, it’s vital to understand mosquito bites to avoid further complications.
Read on to find out the causes of mosquito bites, why they itch and what you can do to ease the common forms of discomfort caused by them.
Why do mosquitoes bite?
Did you know that only female mosquitoes bite? They bite because they need the protein found in our blood to breed and sustain their eggs at their best potential. Mosquitoes use several methods to locate whom they feel could be the best host, including the body odour, heat, and carbon dioxide each individual human exhales. Certain factors make the blood of specific people more “attractive” and “appealing” to mosquitoes compared to others.
Why do mosquito bites itch?
The most common indicator that a mosquito has bitten you is the persistent itch and painful swell on the bitten area. But why are mosquito bites itchy? That is because mosquitoes use their straw-like mouths to pierce your skin and draw blood. While doing this, they inject some of their saliva that contains certain proteins and anticoagulants to your skin.
The anticoagulant prevents the blood from clotting around the mouth of the mosquito. At the same time, the proteins they release trigger our immune system and cause your body to release histamine — a mixture that allows white blood cells an entry to the affected area. The increased blood flow and white blood cell count caused by the histamine causes inflammation and swelling. It also stimulates the nerves around the site of the bite, causing it to itch.
Does scratching make the bite itch more?
While some people experience itchiness, others mightn’t even realize that they’ve been bitten. Being exposed to the same kind of mosquitoes leads to an established resistance to the protein, which leads to low immune system responses and a minimal amount of itching. If you ever get bitten by a mosquito, make sure not to scratch it! Scratching a mosquito bite will only increase the inflammation and swell and result in an even more persistent itch.
How to ease the common forms of discomfort caused by mosquito bites?
In cases when you’re bitten by mosquitoes, here are some of the things you need to do immediately to ensure your safety:
- Wash the bitten area with soap and water
- Refrain from scratching the bitten area
- Apply an ice pack to the bitten area for at least 10 minutes to reduce swelling, inflammation and itching
- Reduce itching by applying a mixture of water and baking soda
- Use an over-the-counter anti-itch prescription, such as a cream or oral medication, to help relieve swelling, inflammation and itching
To stay bite and itch-free from mosquito bites, make sure to remove any areas of stagnant water around your homes, such as flowerpots and roof gutters, as these areas are the ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. As they say, prevention is the best cure.
Mosquitoes are indeed a living definition of the phrase “small but terrible.” Their bites may cause more than just swelling, redness, and itching — they could also transfer some of the most harmful and life-threatening diseases to humans. So, it’s important to ensure proper sanitation by following useful and practical tips to avoid pest infestation in your home.
If mosquito populations are out of control in your home, it’s important to contact a licensed pest control professional to effectively deal with the problem immediately. You can count on the team of experts at PestClinic to conduct a thorough inspection and completely get rid of your mosquito problems in a safe way. Do not hesitate to call us at +65 6397 5677 for more information about our pest control solutions.