The Manifestation of Mosquito Bites
Mosquito bites are often harmless for humans and pets, but in rare cases individuals can contract viruses and diseases from mosquitoes, such as West Nile, chikungunya, malaria and yellow fever. Protecting the body from mosquito bites by applying insect repellents and wearing protective clothing can reduce the risk of bites when venturing outdoors or actively hiking or walking through insect-common areas.
Identifying a Mosquito Bite
Some people do not even notice the first few mosquito bites that appear on the skin because they are small and sometimes blend into the surface. Individuals who have been bitten multiple times may begin to notice the sting and the features of a bite. Mosquito bites produce puffy, white bumps that appear within a few minutes after the insect's proboscis pierces the skin. A day or so later, the bump may become hard, reddish-brown or itchy. Some individuals experience swelling around the bite or small blisters on the skin. Mosquito bites can also produce dark spots that look like bruises.
Symptoms of a Mosquito Bite
Most individuals experience mild itching that stems from a mosquito bite. The uncomfortable feeling and raised bump often heals on its own after a few days. Mosquito bites can also produce flu-like symptoms such as a low-grade fever or hives.
Individuals who may have allergies to mosquito bites may experience more serious symptoms that include lesions, large areas of itching, hives around the bite and inflammation of the lymph system. Severe allergies to mosquito bites can also produce anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening condition that causes the throat to swell and wheezing to occur. Individuals with severe allergies to mosquito bites need medical attention immediately after they are bitten. In addition, bites can introduce potentially deadly diseases like dengue fever and encephalitis.
Treatment for Mosquito Bites
Most people do not require medical treatment for mosquito bites. The itching and swelling often heal on their own. Topical treatments can provide relief from pain and itching. The most common topical treatments include calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream applied to the bite area. Applying ice to the affected area may also reduce itching and stinging. Individuals with stronger reactions may benefit from oral antihistamines such as allergy medications or Benadryl to ease the body's response to the bite.
Mosquito bites can occur at any time when individuals are exposed to these insects within their homes and outdoors. Because these bites are very common, they are often deemed harmless, yet can produce uncomfortable, itchy marks on the skin. Identifying the features and symptoms of mosquito bites can help determine the best treatment option.