Mosquitoes are insects that are from the Culicidae family. They have a balanced pair of wings, a very slim body, a pair of halteres and long legs. The female mosquito is the most dangerous across the species and most likely to suck blood from humans and animals. It is a deadly carrier of carious disease and has been responsible for the deaths of millions of humans over the previous centuries and is a threat even today.
Mosquitoes have been known to roam the earth for as long as 30 million years. They are able to find the victims with various sensors that are capable of identifying carbon dioxide and chemicals such as lactic acid from as long a distance as one hundred feet. It is a known fact that humans and other mammals as well as other living beings produce the gases as a part of the respiratory process.
Mosquitoes are drawn towards the chemicals present in sweat. This is the precise reason why individuals who tend to sweat a lot are more likely to get bitten by mosquitoes as compared to those who sweat less. Additionally, they have visual sensors that enable them to detect any living organism in motion. Mosquitoes are also equipped with heat sensors that allow them to detect the presence of a warm blooded organism in the vicinity.
The female mosquito uses its proboscis to puncture the skin leading to a mosquito bite. The proboscis is very slender and razor-like. Hence, individuals affected by mosquito bites are usually unaware of the insertion of the proboscis into the skin. The saliva of the mosquito has anticoagulant properties that do not allow the blood to clot. The mosquito can then suck the blood out of the victim with the help of the proboscis.
Mosquito bite swelling
Once the mosquito has had its fill, a tiny wound develops on the site of the mosquito bite, with remnants of some saliva. This area generally swells up to form a welt. The immune system then begins to respond to the proteins present in the saliva, which is what causes the itching. The swelling at the site of mosquito bite will gradually disappear, but the itching will remain till the immune system is able to do away with the saliva proteins.
Symptoms of a mosquito bite
- The symptoms of a mosquito bite may vary from one individual to another. It is also possible for the signs to appear immediately or a little later
- A mosquito bite generally results in slight swelling of the affected area along with itchiness.
- When a person affected by mosquito bite scratches it, then it may result in a red lump.
- Excessive scratching of the mosquito bite site may result in breaking of the skin, which can then leave it susceptible to secondary infection by bacteria and other organisms .
- Most of the symptoms of mosquito bites vanish within a few hours or a day at the most.
- Individuals who regularly experience mosquito bites usually elicit less severe symptoms, as the body increases its immunity to them. Children are however prone to developing allergic reactions from mosquito bites as their immune system is not fully developed as yet
Diseases caused by mosquito bites
Mosquito bites can cause viral as well as bacterial diseases. Some of them are discussed below:
- The Anopheles mosquito bite is responsible for causing malaria. A few signs of malaria include headache, chills, fever and a general feeling of being unwell. It is a life threatening disease, but can be cured with anti-malarial medications
- The Aedes mosquito bite is responsible for causing encephalitis that leads to symptoms such as headache, high fever, disorientation, sleepiness and a stiff neck.
- The Aedes Aegypti mosquito bite is responsible for causing yellow fever. The disease has symptoms similar to malaria along with additional signs like vomiting, jaundice and nausea. Yellow fever has no cure and only the symptoms can be treated. Control of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito and vaccination help in prevention of the disease.
- The Aedes Aegypti mosquito bite and the Asian tiger mosquito bite are responsible for causing dengue fever in the tropical and Asiatic regions respectively. The symptoms of dengue fever are varied and can result in ailments such as hemorrhagic fever or viral flu
Treatment of mosquito bites
It is always good to take the necessary steps to avoid a mosquito bite. However, individuals who have been bitten by a mosquito can resort to the below mentioned treatment methods:
- Wash the affected area with soap and water and then pat it dry. Remember not to scrub the skin when washing the affected site
- Do not scratch the mosquito bite as it can create a wound which can then expose it secondary infections by bacteria, etc.
- Application of an ice pack will help reduce the itching and irritation.
- Topical anesthetics or calamine lotion can also be applied on the mosquito bite to get relief from itching
- In case, an individual experiences any of the symptoms of the diseases caused by a mosquito bite, then immediate medical attention is necessary.
Mosquito bite pictures
Here are the pictures of mosquito bites showing allergy, marks and swelling