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Red, itchy mosquito bites can be extremely annoying. Worse, if the mosquito which bit you happened to be carrying a virus such as malaria or West Nile, its bite could make you seriously ill. Choosing the best mosquito bite treatment for you depends on the nature of your symptoms. Common treatments include using soothing lotions and taking a drug to curb the body’s allergic response. Many people find that prevention is the best form of treatment.
The itchy, raised patches of skin known as mosquito bites occur when a female mosquito pierces the skin to feed on the blood. As she feeds, she deposits a small amount of saliva beneath the skin. When the body’s immune system detects this saliva, it dispatches antibodies to the site, causing an irritated bump to form. This bump typically emerges within two days of a bite, and persists for one to two days. If the bitten individual is highly allergic to mosquito saliva, however, or if the mosquito which bit her carried a virus such as West Nile or malaria, she may develop more severe symptoms.
While mosquito bites typically disappear on their own, you may be searching for a treatment to curb bite-related itchiness. Soothing lotions and ointments are perhaps the most common mosquito bite treatment. Hydrocortisone cream and calamine lotion are especially popular choices. Generally, these solutions are dabbed or rubbed onto mosquito bites one or more times daily, depending on the severity of itching.
Taking oral antihistamines is another common mosquito bite treatment. This type of medication, which is usually available over the counter, temporarily curbs the body’s immune response to the presence of mosquito saliva. As a result, irritation at the site of the bite subsides. One potential drawback of oral antihistamines is that they often cause drowsiness.
If you develop unusual symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, very large hives, fever, nausea, fatigue, and disorientation, you should seek immediate medical attention. You may be having a severe allergic reaction to a mosquito bite. Alternatively, you may have contracted a virus due to being bitten by an infected mosquito. These conditions may require prescription drugs or even hospitalization.
Finally, many people find that prevention is the best form of mosquito bite treatment. If you plan to be outdoors in an area where mosquitoes are prevalent, minimize your chance of being bitten by covering your body as fully as possible and using an insect repellent spray. Surround your bed with mosquito netting if you live or are vacationing in a humid tropical climate. Finally, avoid attracting mosquitoes by ridding outdoor spaces of items which might collect water.