Did you know that mosquito bites can be more than a mere nuisance? In fact, mosquitoes are by far the most dangerous of either insects or animals on the planet. More dangerous than sharks or bears you wonder? By far! It turns out that mosquitoes are responsible for a staggering 725,000 human deaths per year. By contrast, the next most dangerous non-human animal is snakes, accounting for some 50,000 yearly deaths. If a mosquito has ever bitten you you know just how annoying the resulting itchiness can be, but you should be fully aware of the possible consequences.
These little insects are dangerous because they act as the primary carriers of a host of deadly diseases (including Malaria, Dengue Fever, and West Nile Virus). This is especially true in non-industrialized countries where public healthcare is lacking.
Luckily, in the industrialized world, mosquitoes are typically little more than a nuisance. If you want to find out how to get rid of mosquito bites, keep reading.
1. Fight the Bite.
Most mosquito bites go unnoticed. Some, however, can become very uncomfortable or even painful. If you only have a few bites, and the itch is bearable, then you can just ignore them. These bites will heal on their own. If you have received several bites, or if you’re allergic to mosquito bites, then treating them should be done so immediately.
2. Apply some cream.
Some mosquito bites swell into big welts, especially if scratched. To ease any associated discomfort, there are a wide variety of products and homemade solutions you can try. An antihistamine cream, like calamine lotion, will usually do the trick. Apply one of these creams directly to the affected areas. For more bothersome bites, you can take a painkiller like paracetamol or an anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen. A cold shower is another way to experience some quick relief.
3. Use a banana peel.
One of the most effective home remedies for mosquito bites is nothing more than a banana peel. A banana peel can offer immediate relief from the pain and itch.
To use, rub the inside part of the banana peel to the affected areas. For the best result, rub each area using small circular motions for 30 seconds, before moving on to the next spot. Swelling and itching should disappear almost instantly. For additional relief, put the banana peel in the fridge prior to use until it is nice and cool.
4. Apply Aloe Vera.
Aloe Vera offers another natural remedy for mosquito bites. Apply a pea-sized amount of Aloe Vera juice directly to the affected areas. This remedy is best if you notice a slight burning sensation around any bites, especially if you’ve been scratching and welts have already formed.
A mosquito bite usually itches for no more than a few minutes. Find a way to distract yourself to prevent scratching. Mosquito bites that are left alone heal much quicker than those that were scratched. It’s a vicious cycle: the more you scratch, the more pain and itch you will feel.
If you’re allergic to mosquito bites or feel symptoms like palpitations, shortness of breath, or a sudden fever, you should immediately seek medical attention.
5. Destroy their breeding grounds.
There are several steps you can take to fight back against mosquitoes.
Around your home, the best way to control mosquito populations is by destroying possible breeding grounds. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in still or stagnant water, so minimizing these spaces is crucial. Flower vases, birdbaths, ponds, pet dishes, and roof gutters are just some of the places where mosquitoes are likely to lay their eggs.
Regularly pour out any pooled water or cover these items with a fine mesh. If you own a swimming pool, ensure that it’s cleaned regularly and that chlorine levels are at the recommended concentrations.
6. Prevent their access.
You can also take steps to keep mosquitoes out of your home. This is especially important if you live somewhere with a high mosquito population. Check the screens on any windows or doors for small holes where mosquitoes can sneak in. If you find holes the screen will need to be replaced. Alternatively, you can save some money by blocking small holes using melted glue from a hot-glue gun.
If you have an infant in your home, keep him or her safe from mosquito bites by installing mosquito netting over their crib. Since infants lack a well-developed immune system, they are more prone to the diseases that mosquitoes can carry.
If you’re heading outdoors, especially to marshy areas with a lot of mosquitoes, use a mosquito repellent to avoid insect bites. These repellents are available as sprays or lotions. Apply according to the directions on the product of your choosing. Wearing long clothing and tucking the ends of your pants into your socks can also be useful.
7. Why Mosquitoes “Bite.”
Technically, mosquitoes don’t actually bite, since they don’t have any teeth. Instead, they suck blood using a straw-like appendage known as a proboscis. It might be surprising to hear that mosquitoes’ primary source of food isn’t blood from humans or animals. It turns out that they also feed on the nectar of certain plants. Mosquitoes need blood mostly for a source of additional nutrients, especially for reproduction.
Mosquitoes are typically active at dawn and dusk. During these times, they hunt for fresh victims. When a mosquito finds a suitable target, it makes a careful landing. After applying its saliva, which act as a painkiller to mask its presence, it penetrates the skin using its proboscis and begins sucking blood. The mosquito stores this blood in a small sac in order to feed it to its young.
If a mosquito has bitten you, the itchy feeling only appears a few minutes after the bite took place (once the mosquito’s painkiller has worn off). This itch is then followed by swelling, which is aggravated by scratching.
While they might be a nuisance, dealing with mosquitoes is not that difficult. Being aware of the potential dangers of these buzzing bugs is important, but shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying the outdoors. Use the information covered in this article to give you a leg up against mosquitoes. You’ll be grateful you did.