Why do mosquito bites itch?
It is only the female mosquito that bites, and she does so because she requires the nutrients from blood to produce eggs. Have you ever wondered why those nasty bites really itch sometimes, while other times they don’t?
- While sucking up your blood with its proboscis (mouthparts), a mosquito injects saliva to prevent your blood from clotting. Yup, you get a good dose of ‘mosquito spit’.
- The saliva contains specific proteins, which your immune system recognizes as foreign substances. Your body mounts an immediate attack, releasing a substance called histamine, which results in itching and enlarged blood vessels. This reaction is similar to when you get a vaccination.
- Shortly thereafter, the bite site may turn itchy, red, swollen, warm and even painful. Immediate treatment with ice or a cold pack may alleviate these symptoms.
- Not everyone reacts the same. Many people, especially adults, develop a tolerance to bites from the mosquitoes where they live.
- There are over 3,000 different kinds of mosquitoes in the world, and each of them has different proteins in the saliva. Therefore, if a person travels and encounters new species, the bite reactions may be severe.
Now you know why mosquito bites itch!
Click here for more information about mosquitoes from the National Pest Management Association: https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/mosquitoes/
Learn more about Captain Stan Cope here: https://catchmaster.com/introducing-captain-stan-the-mosquito-man/