Why do mosquito bites itch? What are the best ways to keep them from itching?

No other pests can ruin a lovely summer outing, a barbecue party, or a game night other than mosquitoes. No place is safe from these pesky bloodsuckers, the diseases they can transmit, and the annoying, itchy, red welt they leave on every bite. It is so itchy that it drives us crazy. We scratch on it, yet the itching sensation only heightens up until we can’t bear it anymore.

But, what is the reason behind irritating itchiness that comes with a mosquito bite? First, the bite is not actually a ‘bite’ as mosquitoes pierce human skin by using their proboscis, the sharp tube-like mouth that enables it to drink fluid. Once they ‘bite,’ they release a little amount of saliva into the skin, as it serves as an anti-coagulant element that allows them to drink blood seamlessly.

Proteins from the mosquito saliva, being a foreign substance, activates the immune system and sparks a mild allergic reaction. The body releases histamine to combat the ‘intruders’ in the spot bitten by the mosquito. Histamine builds up in the area, resulting in the inflammation of the blood vessels. Thus, the formation of a red bump. As the blood vessels extend, it causes disturbances in the nerves and causes the itching sensation.

Now, the question is, what are the best ways to keep them from itching? While there are lots of commercial products available in your nearest pharmacy, they can cost a lot and may contain chemicals harmful to your skin. As with most problems, you can find the solution in nature itself. With many of the remedies towards that sweet relief are available at your home.

1. Crushed ice

The cold temperature from ice can lessen inflammation and numb the area. While its effect is immediate, it can only provide short-term relief. Find a cold bag or pack brimmed with crushed ice to soothe itchiness caused by a mosquito bite. However, don’t apply ice directly on the skin for over five minutes. Instead, use a towel or any cloth to protect your skin from any damage.

2. Honey

Honey boasts incredible antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been utilized as a remedy for various ailments, from bumps to bruises, and even sore throats for the longest time. Drop a small amount of honey on the mosquito bite to reduce itchiness and inflammation. Plus, it will help you fight the temptation to scratch the bite as it is sticky and messy.

3. Baking Soda

A common find in every household, baking soda has an array of uses from being a cleaning agent to being a cooking ingredient. But, it can also effectively relieve itchiness from a mosquito bite. Mix water and a tablespoon of baking soda to create a paste. Apply it to the bite, and have it sit for 8-10 minutes before rinsing it away.

4. Onion

Onions have an innate antifungal property that can reduce the risk of infection and soothe sting and irritation. Get a slice of onion, and place it directly onto the bite for a few minutes. Rinse the spot thoroughly after removing the onion.

5. Witch hazel

Witch hazel has been proven to be beneficial in a multitude of skin irritations, such as scrapes, cuts, and hemorrhoids. Applying directly into the skin lessens inflammation, relieves sting or itchiness, and quickens healing, due to its astringent property. Gently wipe a small amount of witch hazel over the bite using a cotton ball and let it dry. You can repeat it if necessary.

6. Oatmeal

While it is a common breakfast favorite, oatmeal can also work well in relieving inflammation and itchiness, thanks to its anti-irritant properties. Mix equal amounts of water and oatmeal in a bowl to create a paste. Press it down on the mosquito bite for around 10 minutes, and rinse the spot clean.

7. Basil

Basil contains the chemical compound called eugenol that soothes itchy skin. Create a basil rub by boiling an ounce of dried basil leaves on 2 cups of water. Once cooled, rub the mixture over the mosquito bites to keep them from itching.

8. Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea is a common remedy for many ailments, as it is effective in lessening inflammation, soothing irritation, and speeding up the healing process. Soak up a chamomile tea bag in water in a refrigerator for around 20-30 minutes. Then, squeeze any excess water from the bag and place it directly over the mosquito bite for 15 minutes. Rinse the area clean using a wet washcloth afterward.

9. Garlic

Garlic is a staple natural remedy for many conditions and can work incredibly in easing itchiness from a mosquito bite due to its anti-inflammatory property. However, don’t put a garlic slice directly onto the bite. It is potent enough to cause a stinging and burning sensation. Instead, stir in it coconut oil then apply it to the bite to enjoy its soothing effects.

10. Lemon balm

Lemon balm contains polyphenols and tannins, which are natural compounds that soothe inflammation, lessen the risk of infection, and speed up the healing process. Apply chopped leaves directly onto the mosquito bite for immediate relief.

More Readings:

Mosquito (Wikipedia)

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