Just don’t scratch… Stop it.
Summer is great for lots of things. Mosquito bites ain’t one of them.
These guys have a way of violating your personal space. Before you know it, they’ve got a belly full of your blood — which they’ll use to make more of the vampiric pests — and you’ve got a huge red bump on your skin marking the area where the violation occurred.
Mosquitos are known to spread a variety of viruses through these bites, including West Nile, malaria, dengue, and, most recently, Zika. But even if you don’t contract these, you’re surely going to feel itchy and experience some level of swelling.
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FYI: It’s actually your own body that’s creating that itch.
As soon as a mosquito sticks its needle into you, it injects saliva containing proteins that numb the area so you'll never know it was there. Then, once it’s found a good blood vessel, other proteins within the saliva act as vasodilators — expanding the blood vessel — while also preventing the blood from clotting.
The itch typically comes a few hours later, when your body's immune system reacts to the saliva and produces histamines, Dr. Lindsey Bordone, assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center, tells BuzzFeed Health. Those histamines cause your nerves to “send an itchy signal,” and can increase blood flow to the area, which is why it might seem a little swollen. That's usually when you notice you've been bit.
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Let's go through some of the most common remedies…
Taking a warm bath might sound soothing, but it’s a bad idea.
Whether it’s with oatmeal, baking soda, or just a bath bomb, don’t do it, Bordone says.
“If you heat up the skin, you’re going to become itchier in general,” she says. “So taking a hot bath or putting something hot on [the bite] generally backfires.”
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