Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?

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Mosquito bites are very unpleasant. This is coming from experience! Who hasn’t suffered from these nasty pests? First, they leave red bumps on our skin. Then these bumps, these mosquito bites, just itch like crazy, no matter what you do.

Why Mosquito and Insect Bites Itch

The truth is that bug bites by themselves don’t actually itch at all. A lot of the time, you won’t even feel an insect or mosquito biting you.

So, why does the spot where you were bitten start to itch?

The reason for this has to do with the processes that happen under your skin once a mosquito has bitten you. While it can be quite unpleasant, it’s also very interesting.

How Mosquitoes Bite Us

Mosquitoes belong to a suborder of elongated flies with thin antennae and aquatic larvae called Nematocera. The female mosquitoes have a long, thin proboscis that they use to bite us and suck our blood. They later use this blood to create their eggs. This proboscis is very complicated in its build. Despite being so small and thin, it consists of six different parts.

Once a mosquito bites you, it has to be on your skin for at least six seconds to be able to suck your blood. During this time, a very complicated process occurs in which the mosquito bites with one part of its proboscis and then releases another part, which looks like two tubes. Once in a blood vessel, one of these tubes sucks our blood and the other injects mosquito saliva into the blood vessel.

The Culprit: Mosquito Saliva

Mosquito saliva is an anticoagulant. This means that it can stop your blood from clotting so that the mosquito can drink your blood as long as it needs to. Unfortunately, this is also the main way that mosquitoes transmit diseases like malaria or the West Nile virus.

You’re probably allergic to mosquito saliva because almost all humans are.

When you’re allergic to something, your body produces histamines. This is the protein that triggers inflammation, which in this case looks like red bumps that itch. So, the mosquitoes aren’t the ones that create the itching. Their bites itch because we’re allergic to their saliva.

The Good News

The good news is that with time, mosquito bites will itch less. The more mosquitoes bite you, the more your body will become accustomed to mosquito saliva. It will eventually produce less histamine and the bites will itch less. There’s no real way to avoid the itchiness, though. You can only to lessen it with natural or not-so-natural remedies or by avoiding getting bitten by mosquitoes in the first place.

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