8 Mosquito Bite Facts and Myths

Victoria75TallVictoria Nguyen
Mom’s Choice Awards® Intern
College Student

mosquito-300x200What’s more dreadful than the blistering heat in the summertime? How about feeling like a real-life mosquito magnet every time you go outside?

Some people are lucky to never have  this problem, but if you’re like me, going outside makes you feel like you’re a walking buffet for these insects. Here are 8 very interesting myths and facts about those dastardly creatures that torment you every summer evening.

About That Mosquito Bite – What’s Fact? What’s Fiction?

1. “Mosquitoes have teeth, that’s why they bite me.”

MYTH. The term “mosquito bite” is actually misleading. Mosquitos do not have any sort of teeth or jaw to bite your skin. A mosquito bite is actually the mosquito puncturing your skin with its mouth part (called a ), a long needle-like snout. The mosquito inserts it deep enough to find a blood capillary and begins to suck your blood.

2. “A mosquito bite is called a wheal.”

FACT. Don’t ask me why it is called a wheal. Just know that you can impress your friends with your knowledge that the giant red bump you get is called a “wheal.”

3. “The bump and itch is caused by the mosquito inserting something weird and deadly inside me.”

MYTH.

Mosquito-Bites-ItchBoth the bump and itch is caused by the body in reaction to the mosquito sucking your blood. The proboscis is composed of two types of tubes- one to suck up the blood, and one to insert the mosquito’s saliva into your blood.

The saliva has enzymes that are not compatible with your body. In reaction, your body releases antibodies to “fight” the enzymes. In doing so, it releases antihistamines to increase the blood flow to the bite. The excess histamines in your body cause the swelling of the skin and the itchiness.

4. “ I can’t feel the mosquito bite because their snouts are so small.”

MYTH. The saliva from the bite is also a mild painkiller (which explains why you don’t feel a thing) and also a blood thinner to prevent your blood from clotting where the mosquito “bit” you. But you already know it isn’t a mosquito bite!

5. “Scratching will only make it worse.”

Absolutely a FACT.  Scratching will not make the itching go away. In fact, it could make it worse. If you scratch too much and tear the skin, you can cause an infection.

The best thing to do if you are intensely bothered by it is to put on calamine lotion, hydrocortisone, or an ice pack to constrict the blood vessels, numb the area, and reduce swelling.

6. “I get bitten more often because my blood attracts mosquitos.”

MYTH. If you’re telling your kids this – or your parents used to say the same thing to you – STOP!

There is a lot of research into why certain people get bitten more by others. Most results are showing that it’s nothing in the blood, but rather the chemical odors your body gives off. The human body has odors that characterize it as being human and differentiating it from any other animal. Many people however give off different odors that throw off the mosquitoes and prevent attraction.

Some research has shown that stress induces chemicals that repel mosquitoes, while other research says the stench of stinky feet is extremely delicious for them.

7. “There are some cool home cures out there that can make a mosquito bite better.” MTI4ODM2MDQ5NDIxMTEzODIy-300x200

Luckily enough, this is a FACT! If you don’t have calamine lotion or an anti-itch stick in your cabinets, try some of these unusual items: a damp green tea bag, cold aloe vera gel, alcohol, hand sanitizer, and witch hazel.

These items have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties to reduce swelling and help decrease a chance of infection and distract you from the itchiness.

8. “Apparently only female mosquitos bite me!”

FACT. Female mosquitoes consume animal blood for reproduction. Male mosquitoes will drink flower nectar instead.


This post was originally posted on the now-defunct Mom’s Choice Matters blog on 7/27/15.

Victoria200TallAbout the Author: Victoria Nguyen is a college student and social media intern at Mom’s Choice Awards®.

View all posts by Victoria Nguyen here.

 

 


Information and Image Sources

http://insects.about.com/od/flies/a/10-facts-about-mosquitoes.htm

http://www.everydayhealth.com/skin-and-beauty-pictures/18-home-cures-for-mosquito-bite-itch.aspx#11

http://www.mosquitoworld.net/when-mosquitoes-bite/bites/

http://www.sharewhy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Mosquito-Bites-Itch.jpg

Save

8 Comments on “8 Mosquito Bite Facts and Myths”

  1. The mosquitos have been really bad these past two weeks,this post certainly has been helpful!

  2. I’m back to give this a read with my grandkids just the thought of mosquito inserting something deadly inside me really creeps me out and the little buggers are plentiful here this Spring.The kids have also learned a few things! Thanks we are looking forward to Summer.

  3. I truly believe i live in mosquito town…haha.Here in Newfoundland they are horrible in the mornings and evenings,thanks i learned some new facts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *