If you’re anything like me, the mosquitoes love you! It’s always nice to be popular, but in this case, I’d rather be a wallflower. I made the mistake of stepping outside for about ten minutes a couple evenings ago and, well, here’s the result:
Being that we’re a medical clinic, there are a lot of people here who tell me to stop scratching! So what in the world can you do when you’re covered in itchy mosquito bites and you can’t scratch?????
Please note that this is not meant as medical advice. If you’re not sure what to do, contact your doctor, or come see us.
First, the best defense is a good offense, right? So invest in a good insect repellant and apply according to the manufacturer's directions. Did you know some need to be applied more often than others? If you prefer to avoid the chemicals in many bug sprays, there are options like citronella, peppermint oil or even garlic oil. Consult with an expert, however, before you try applying essential oils to your skin. Some essential oils can be concentrated enough to burn or even blister your skin if used incorrectly.
If you’ve been bitten, here’s where your self control needs to kick in. Wash off the effected areas as soon as possible, using mild soap and cool water. Pat it dry with a towel rather than rubbing. The reason it itches is because the mosquito has injected you with an anticoagulant (to drink more of your delicious blood) and your body is fighting its and having a minor allergic reaction.
For minor bites like these, a paste made of a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with a few drops of water and apply it gently. Or another option is to apply some vinegar to the bite. Scratching, though it may feel good for a little while, can actually make the bite worse and make it last longer.
Here in the US, the risk of catching a serious disease from a mosquito bite is low, but you should seek medical help if you’re having a severe allergic reaction, like a racing heartbeat, difficulty breathing and severe swelling. If you’ve scratched your bites and they have become infected, that’s when it’s a good idea to see your doctor.