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.

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Mosquito.

 

23 Comments on “Have you ever wondered what happens when a mosquito bites you?

  1. I’m originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba and I used to really get bitten a lot. Witch hazel also works very well – it relieves the itching and reduces the swelling – always works great on bruises.

    • Yours is a good strategy, Tom. I don’t want to stay out of the wood, so I suffer the consequences. I manage to stop the majority of the biting; it could be a lot worse.

  2. Great stot! 🙂 We live on a river. It’s been exceptionally rainy this year and the mosquitoes are really the worst ever! I cleaned our roof gutters yesterday and (even with protective spray) was attacked and bitten many times!

      • Indeed! I find 50% deet works well, but I only spray it only knock, ears and wrists – they bite me through my cloths.

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