Have you ever wondered what happens when a mosquito bites you?
Sunrise: 04.51 Sunset: 09.25
Have you ever wondered what happens when a mosquito bites you? “Yes!” I hear you say, “Of course I know! Their bite turns into an angry red lump that itches and hurts.”
It’s the female mosquito that bites, or rather pushes its hypodermic needle-like proboscis through the skin, and settles down to sucking your blood. To aid the removal of your life giving blood as quickly and efficiently as possible, it injects saliva below the skin which acts as an anticoagulant. Shortly after the mosquito has finished its meal, your immune system is alerted to the alien substance – saliva in this case – and dispatches antibodies to zap the invader, which in turn initiates a release of histamine.
Histamine causes an inflammatory response around the damaged area of skin. White blood cells and other proteins are sent to search out and destroy the invading cells. The histamine causes the blood vessels around the “bite” to swell, producing the angry, red, itchy lump.
As your mother will have advised, don’t scratch a bite. Scratching will encourage the immune systems to send more antibodies, increasing itching and discomfort.
The mosquito in the image bit me through my shirt. I gave it a slap, missed, and it flew on to the leaf. It had a piece of me, so I now have a piece of it.
Bites quickly develop into blisters on my skin. My reaction is to apply anti-histamine cream, which quickly stops the inflammatory response. I have found it a good idea to keep a small tube Anthisan in my pocket.