How to Stop Itching
from Mosquito Bites
Getting to Know Mosquito Bites
First, a buzzing sound. Soon after, the skin starts to itch, and a noticeable bump appears. Alas, kids may not notice these symptoms right away, but when they do, it can cause them extreme distress. A mosquito bite is both annoying and painful, but can be easily avoided and treated. A bite occurs when a female mosquito uses its mouth (also known as proboscis) to puncture the skin in order to gain access to the blood, which they need to lay eggs(1). The itching which accompanies a bite is caused by mosquito saliva that is left on the skin, triggering a reaction from the immune system(1).
A mosquito bite can cause an apparent reddish lump on the skin. Some bites can also cause hard, reddish-brown bumps, or multiple bumps that appear a day after a kid has been bitten. Small blisters or dark, bruise-like spots can also appear on the skin(2). Alternatively, mosquito bites can also cause Skeeter syndrome, which is condition that is common amongst children(1), and can cause a kid to experience symptoms such as red, sore or swollen skin.
Prevention and Proper Treatment
Mosquitoes prefer a particular set of scents. such as exhaled carbon dioxide and the chemicals in human sweat(1). As such, it is advisable to precautionary measures when your kid is playing outdoors. It is also recommended for you to avoid the outdoors during dusk, to repair tears in window screens, and to use mosquito nets when you are outside(1). At the same time, the use of insect repellants may temporarily prevent insect bites, although some products may offer longer-lasting protection(1). It is also ideal to get rid of stagnant water in drains and containers, which is often where mosquitoes breed around your home.
The itchy feeling caused by a mosquito bite often goes away on its own. But in case it becomes too uncomfortable, there are many available treatments to prevent itching, even for kids. Some home remedies include:
- Washing the area of skin which has been bitten with soap and water. You can also opt to place an ice pack or cool compress over the affected area for a few minutes to reduce the swelling and itching(2).
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water to make a paste makes for a good topical solution for a mosquito bite(2).
- Applying calamine lotion or steroid cream to treat the itching that is caused by a mosquito bites, or other insect bites(1). Please consult your doctor or pharmacist before using it.
- Applying products which are made using ingredients such as eucalyptus oil and camphor, as they contain anti-inflammatory properties that help to relieve the pain and itch associated with a mosquito bite, or other insect bites.
- Applying aloe vera gel on the affected are of skin as it contains anti-inflammatory properties(7).
- Applying finely minced garlic that has been stirred together with unscented lotion or room temperature coconut oil to avoid the burning and stinging sensation which occurs as a result of a direct application of garlic on a bite area(7).
When to See A Doctor
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mosquitoes are one of the deadliest insects, causing the deaths of millions worldwide each year(5). This is because they can carry viruses or parasites which can cause illnesses such as yellow fever, malaria, dengue fever, and brain infection(1). For instance, in the year 2015 alone, there was a recorded number of approximately 438,000 global deaths due to malaria(5).
In 2015-2016, the world was plagued by the emergence of the Zika virus(6). This disease is caused by a bite from the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also responsible for the transmission of other diseases which include dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever in humans(5). In Malaysia alone, there were 68,950 cases of dengue in 2019 with 102 deaths(4).
If a mosquito or insect bite causes your child to suffer symptoms such as a fever, headache, body aches or other signs of infection, check in with your doctor immediately(1). Should your child suffer from a swollen face, mouth or throat, wheezing or difficulty breathing, nausea, rapid heart rate, dizziness, difficulty swallowing, or loss of consciousness, it means that the insect bites may have caused a severe reaction in their bodies, and immediate medical attention is paramount(3).
- Mosquito Bites (n.d.) Retrieved September 3, 2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ mosquito-bites/diagnosis-treatment/ drc-20375314
- Mosquito Bite Symptoms and Treatment (n.d.) Retrieved September 3, 2020 from https://www.cdc.gov/mosquitoes/mosquito- bites/symptoms.html#:~:text=Apply%20an% 20ice%20pack%20for,cream%20for%20a% 20mosquito%20bite.
- Insect bites and stings (2020) Retrieved September 3, 2020 from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/insect-bites-and-stings/treatment/treatments %20such%20as%20antihistamine%20tablets.
- Dengue Situation Update Number 599 (2020) Retrieved September 3, 2020 from https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/wpro---documents/emergency/surveillance/dengue/dengue-20200716.pdf?sfvrsn=b42cfbd0_34
- Mosquito-borne diseases (n.d.) Retrieved September 3, 2020 from https://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/vector_ecology/ mosquito-borne-diseases/en/
- Zika epidemiology update (2019) Retrieved September 3, 2020 from https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/zika/epidemiology-update/en/
Natural Home Remedies for Mosquito and Other Insect Bites
The buzzing of mosquitoes may have already become a part of your daily life, especially if you are living in a tropical country like Singapore. Irrespective of whether it is the dry or wet season, you may still find yourself scratching your skin non-stop due to a mosquito bite. Fortunately, there are surefire natural home remedies to help alleviate the symptoms of mosquito and other insect bites.
Mosquito bites and Insect bites in Kids
Your child’s reaction to mosquito bites and insect bites is greater compared to yours. The symptoms of these bites are typically more adverse during the early childhood stage, but will lessen over time(1). To effectively manage the symptoms of these bites and protect your children from future incidents, here’s what you need to know about mosquito and other insect bites in kids.
Treatment and Prevention of Mosquito and Other Insect Bites
Unless you live inside a protective bubble 24/7, insect bites are an inevitable part of life. In that regard, here are some handy first-aid tips to relieve the symptoms of mosquito or insect bites, as well as preventive measures you can adopt for keeping bug bites at bay.