There are more than 2,700 species of mosquitoes in the world.
Although small in size, mosquitoes have been around for over 30 million years.
Every summer they sneak through the doors and the windows and suck your blood away.
Mosquitoes can smell their dinner from an impressive distance of up to 50 meters.
Only female mosquitoes bite. They are attracted by heat, carbon dioxide, lactic acid, and possibly other chemicals.
As the female mosquito draws blood, it leaves its saliva, which contains protein substances and anticoagulants that prevent blood from clotting. As a result, the blood easily flows into the mouth of the mosquito (about 5 microliters per serving).
The immune system of the victim responds with a swelling and an itchy, red bump within the first 24 hours. Eventually, the swelling goes away, but the itch remains until your immune cells break down the saliva proteins.
The saliva can also contain and transmit disease-causing viruses and parasites.
Although it is endlessly tempting to scratch, breaking the skin by scratching it, exposes the bite to a greater risk of infection. Scratching creates more inflammation, leading to more itching and pain.
Some people develop severe reactions to mosquito bites with large areas of swelling, blistering rashes, and bruises.
French researchers found that having just 12 ounces of beer may increase your mosquito appeal, possibly because of the increase in body temperature it causes.
Beyond beer consumption, scientists are still scratching their heads trying to work out what makes some people attractive to the blood-suckers and others repulsive.
Scientists do know that genetics account for 85% of our susceptibility to mosquito bites.
Pregnancy seems to be a big winner for mosquito attraction.
Besides delivering annoying bites, mosquitoes can carry many types of diseases:
- Yellow fever
- Dengue fever
As many as 500 million cases of malaria are contracted globally each year, and more than one million people die from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How To Treat Mozzie Bites
- As soon as you realize that you have been bitten let cool water run over the affected area.
- Apply an icepack or a bag of frozen vegetables on the bite to soothe and relieve the itch and the swelling.
- Rub apple cider vinegar directly on the mosquito bites to relieve itching.
- Flesh of aloe vera, freshly-cut onion, or lemon juice, can be directly applied to the site to reduce the pain, swelling and itching.
- Add a few drops of Tea Tree Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, or Lavender Essential Oil to a cotton ball, and then dab it on the irritated area for immediate relief.
- Use Tea Tree Antiseptic Spray with Aloe Vera to relief inflammation in the area of the bite.
- Homeopathic remedies like Staphysagria, Ledum, and Apis Mellifica are used to treat and prevent mosquito bites as well.
- Soaking in an oatmeal powder will soften and calm the skin, and it is ideal for treating mosquito bites that cover a large area of the body.
- Chamomile or peppermint teabags can be applied directly to mosquito bites to alleviate swelling. Simply soak the leaves or bags in hot water. Allow them to cool, in the refrigerator if you prefer, and place them over the mosquito bites.
- Honey is a natural antibiotic an antiseptic. Apply on the infected mosquito bites to heal the infection.
- Witch Hazel is an antiseptic and astringent and can be used to clean the affected area, and to alleviate the itching.
Prevention is Better than a Cure
The best way to treat a mosquito bite is not to get one in the first place.
- Put fly screens on windows and doors, get rid of containers that can hold water and make sure your water tank is screened.
- Wear long-sleeved, loose, light coloured clothing that covers as much of the body as possible.
- Try to avoid going outdoors at dawn and dusk – the times mosquitoes are most active.
- Mosquitoes breed in still water. Take a look around your yard and empty out any rubbish that may hold water.
- Burn essential oils or aromatherapy candles like lemongrass, lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, geranium, outside to keep mosquitoes away and make your yard smell lovely too.
- Put a pot of growing basil, in your home to naturally repel mosquitos.
- Eating raw garlic can provide protection against mosquitoes as well.
- Avoid the chemical stuff available at local drug stores and use a natural mosquito repellent.
Natural Mosquito Repellent Recipes :
Eucalyptus / Tea Tree
10-25 drops of essential oils (Tea Tree, Eucalyptus,)
2 tablespoons of a carrier oil (olive oil or sunflower oil) or alcohol (vodka)
Mix the essential oils with the carrier oil or alcohol.
Rub or spray onto skin or clothing.
Combine 25 drops of lemon grass essential oil and 250 mL of Witch Hazel Oil.
Store in a dark spray bottle. This natural tincture repels mosquitoes and can be applied to the skin, especially on the wrists, behind the ears, and at the ankles.
Mix 25 drops of clove oil with grapeseed oil, apply to your skin, and enjoy a mozzie-free day. It can also be mixed with distilled water and used as a spray.