With the beginning of school just around the corner, you and your loved ones are about to embark on evenings spent outdoors for little league football, cheer, and other such practices. Dust off the fold out chairs and bring on the mosquito repellent! We all know that mosquito bites are itchy and annoying but few of us have taken to time to learn why.
It is the female mosquito that seeks blood meals to use for energy and in producing eggs to further the population. The females use their proboscis, an elongated mouthpart used for sucking, to inject your skin with their saliva before sucking your blood up through the proboscis. The mosquito’s saliva keeps your blood from coagulating; thus, allowing the mosquito to suck the blood quicker. After filling her stomach, the mosquito leaves trace amount of her saliva atop your skin. Your body senses the mosquito’s saliva and activates your immune system. Your immune system sends antibodies to attack the antigens in the saliva followed by histamine. Histamine, of course, causes an inflammatory response and you see the pink bump or whelp around the intrusion sight.
As difficult as it is, refraining from scratching the inflamed area will help the bite heal quicker. When we do scratch the bite, we further inflame and irritate the skin causing the body to send more antibodies, more histamine, and more itchiness! Those little insects know just how to get under your skin and on your nerves!