Why do mosquito bites itch so much ?
The topic of this article is born out of pain and suffering, quite literally I’m afraid.
Whilst on holiday and after my 15th bite, from an unstoppable gang of a delinquent Italian mozzies, accompanied by the usual pain and exquisite pleasure of scratching my poor legs, I began musing on why they itch so much. How can something so small cause so much misery ?
The Yucky Details
First of all it’s worth pointing out that only female mosquitoes bite. Furthermore, when a female mosquito bites you, she is actually not biting you at all. What happens is this: Her large needle-like mouth part, called a proboscis, probes your skin when she lands on you looking for a blood vessel. When she finds one, she sucks out some blood, leaving behind a little of her saliva, which acts as an anticoagulant (a chemical that prevents clotting) as she is sucking up your blood. This allows her to feast more efficiently. Our body has a natural immune response to the foreign mosquito saliva and creates histamines, it is this that causes the skin around the bite to itch. A mosquito bite doesn’t always itch right away. Sometimes it can take a couple of hours to notice you’ve been bitten.
The Mosquito Bite Cure *
Here’s a ‘cure’ that purports to instantly stop the itch of a mosquito bite using of all things, a warm spoon.
1. Hold a spoon upside-down under hot water for 30 seconds.
2. Press the back of the spoon onto the bite until the heat dissipates.
For best results, give the bite at least 60 seconds of heat. The bump will remain, but the swelling and redness should noticeably improve—at least enough to keep you from itching and scratching.
* I should point out that I’ve never actually tried this but am assured that it does work. Even in the name of science I refuse to deliberately get bitten in order to try it out!!
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