Along with the warm, sunny days come the unwelcome threat of mosquito bites. Mosquito bites have taken on a whole new meaning now that we know mosquitoes can transmit a variety of serious diseases including West Nile Virus.
The absolute best defense against mosquito bites is to take measures to prevent them from occurring in the first place. This isn’t always possible since even the best mosquito repellents aren’t foolproof.
How should you treat a mosquito bite once it occurs?
1. Wash the bite as soon as possible with warm soap and water.
2. Make a thick paste by combining water with baking soda. Use a soft brush to apply this mixture gently to the bite.
3. Apply an ice pack to the affected area and avoid scratching the bite to reduce itching and inflammation.
Here are some additional measures you can take to relieve the discomfort and itching of a mosquito bite:
1. Ask your pharmacist for a low concentration of hydrocortisone cream to help relieve the itching.
2. Apply camphor or menthol to the mosquito bite to reduce itching. Vicks Vapor Rub has both menthol and camphor oils as ingredients. Apply this lightly to the mosquito bite. Be prepared for the potent smell.
3. You can apply calamine lotion to the bite to help relieve the pain and itch associated with mosquito bites.
4. Avoid scratching and picking at the bite since this can cause further inflammation and discomfort.
When you receive a mosquito bite, your body releases a substance called histamine which is responsible for much of the itching and swelling associated with insect bites. Because our bodies are all different, you can expect some people to release larger amounts of histamine than others. When this happens, the swelling and itching may be more extreme. If this is the case, you can take an antihistamine, such as Benadryl to reduce the symptoms associated with the histamine release. Be sure to avoid taking antihistamines if you’ll be driving or operating machinery since they can make you sleepy.
If you should develop any unusual symptoms such as fever, severe headache, muscle or joint aches and pains, or chills, see your doctor immediately to rule out the possibility of a mosquito transmitted infection such as West Nile Virus.
There no doubt mosquito bites can be a nuisance. By taking the proper steps to treat your mosquito bite, you can significantly reduce their discomfort.