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How Long Do Mosquito Bites Last

 
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: September 29, 2017
How Long Do Mosquito Bites Last

Mosquitoes are perhaps the most irritating insects on this earth. They are ectoparasites which means they feed on the outside of a host (unlike tapeworms which do their work inside). Only the female mosquitoes bite, the males preferring to feed on nectar and water. The females search for blood so that they can produce eggs, something which the males do not require. Mosquito bites itch and can be painful, but fortunately they do not last long. However, people who are allergic to mosquito bites may develop serious symptoms for which medical intervention may be required. Read this oneHOWTO article to find out how long do mosquito bites last, along with other necessary information about these tiny winged beasts.

You may also be interested in: Tricks to Avoid Mosquito Bites

Why do mosquito bites itch?

Mosquitoes pierce through your skin in order to suck blood from your underlying blood vessels. They do this via a long needle like appendage known as a proboscis. Once they pierce your skin, they insert their proboscis and move it in order to find an arteriole and venule filled with blood. Then they pierce the vein to suck blood from it. All of this process takes place within a second or two, which is usually the time a mosquito spends on your skin.

The natural reaction of your body is vasoconstriction, aggregation of platelets and blood clotting. This is what we do when we have a cut or abrasion to start the healing process. A mosquito releases enzymes and anticoagulants which counteract your ability to minimize blood loss. As a result, your body releases histamine to react against these anticoagulants. Histamine is a chemical that causes itching and swelling on the site.

If you have any allergies, it is likely you have heard the word antihistamine. These are the drugs you take to counteract an allergic reaction. It does do by attacking the histamine and in the process reduce itching and swelling.

Why are mosquitoes most active at night?

You may have noticed that mosquitoes become more active at night as compared to day. You probably know this from the interminable high pitched buzzing which they cause as their circle your head when you try to sleep. There are several reasons for this:

  • The fact is that they want to avoid daylight, because exposure to sun can dehydrate them and even kill them. During hot days, they seek out cool, wet, shaded areas and stay there till dusk. As evening approaches, they start stirring from their hiding spots, and go on a hunt for blood. Once they have fed during the night, they will again seek out hiding places in the morning to rest.
  • Mosquitoes have an in-built biological clock which tells them when they should sleep and when they should be active. They have a nerve cells group in their nervous system which allows them to keep track of time. It creates a chain reaction due to which their behavior changes during day and night, just like humans.
  • Another reason why mosquito bites are itchier during nights is the heat from your blanket while sleeping. During sleep, the thick blanket, cover or comforter heat up your body and increases your blood flow. So, when mosquitoes bite, the anticoagulants in their saliva distribute quickly in your body through blood flow. This forces your body to release more histamine, thus making your bites more itchy and irritating.
  • For many people, nighttime is not when you have your active hours. As you are not being distracted with hobbies and work, such a simple discomfort like a mosquito bite can be enough to drive you crazy. When your mind is idle during the night, you may be forced to think more about the bite and how itchy it is.
How Long Do Mosquito Bites Last - Why are mosquitoes most active at night?

How long does it take to start itching?

Sometimes, you may spot a mosquito that has just sat on your skin. The first reaction is to shoo it away. Still, you will feel a little itching on the spot, but it will subside within 10-15 seconds, because the mosquito did not pierce your venule yet. This means that you can feel the itching almost immediately after the mosquito bite. You can start itching just after the bite, but the red bump will appear after around a minute. Within 5 minutes, it will swell and start itching more.

How long do mosquito bite bumps last?

An individual’s reaction to a mosquito bite may range from very mild to severe, depending on the severity of the bite and the person’s sensitivity to it. For most people, the itch will last only for a few minutes, and the bumps will go away within a couple of days. But if a person has an allergy to mosquito bites, they may suffer from something called skeeter syndrome. This is a specific allergic reaction which may make the itch and bumps last a lot longer. Worse, as it causes an infection, it can even result in fever. Some people may exhibit the symptoms for several weeks, but it is very rare. The antihistamine cetirizine can be effective in treating skeeter syndrome.

Certain activities like rigorous scratching can extend the duration for which the mosquito bite will last. Although it is incredibly tempting, you should refrain from agitating the bite. It will increase its duration.

How long a mosquito bite bump will last also depends on where the mosquito bit you. Bites on feet and hands will take a longer time to clear, because there is minimal flow of blood to the extremities. Bites on the core of your body are likely to go away earlier, because active blood flow in this area will quickly clear the foreign substances and help to heal the area faster. They can be particularly annoying if they get you on an ankle or wrist as there is less blood flow close to the bone.

Your body’s individual reaction to a mosquito bite will also affect the duration of the bumps. When a mosquito bites you, it injects different kinds of nasty substances inside your body. Classic symptoms of a mosquito bite include itching, pain and red bumps. But every individual’s body is different, and it reacts differently to these foreign matters. Not everyone reacts to the same matter, and in the same way. It largely depends on how your individual body reacts to the saliva of a particular mosquito species. If a mosquito bites two people, it is likely to cause two different reactions. One person may feel several hours of pain and itching, while other person may not even notice the bite.

Why scratching will prolong the symptoms of a mosquito itch?

Although scratching may bring instant relief from the itch, it can make it feel itchier in the long run. The more it is scratched, the worse it may become. When you scratch a bite, your body’s immunity overreacts and tries to remove foreign substances as quickly as possible. When you do this, it irritates and inflames the bite even more. If you want to minimize the duration of the mosquito bite itch and bump, you should resist the temptation to scratch it immediately. Click here to know how to stop itchy mosquito bites naturally.

How will mosquito bites go away quicker?

There are certain things that you can do to make your mosquito bite go away quicker. First of all, and most importantly, do not scratch it. Scratching gives immediate relief, but it makes the bite even worse. It may also lead to broken skin and bruises due to fingernails. This can lead to infection. Scratches and cuts to your skin will cause even more itching, thus making the condition worse and prolonging the healing time.

When you feel the itch, rub the area gently with your fingertips. A gentle massage will increase blood flow to the area, and cause the allergens to clear away more quickly. There are a number of topical creams that can decrease the healing time of mosquito bites as well. 1% hydro-cortisone cream is used for reducing rashes and inflammation. Calamine lotion may also be used to relieve itching and clear the bite faster.

How Long Do Mosquito Bites Last - How will mosquito bites go away quicker?

How to prevent mosquito bites?

Prevention is always better than cure, and here are a few ways with which you can prevent mosquito bites:

  • Wear socks, pants and long-sleeved shirts that will keep you protected from stings.
  • Wear light colored clothes as mosquitoes are more attracted towards dark colors.
  • Don’t use too much scents and perfumes, as strong fragrances may attract mosquitoes.
  • Do not let water stand or stagnate in your area, as it provides as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • Apply topical mosquito repellants whenever you need to go out in a mosquito prone area, such as a campsite or garden.
  • Keep doors and windows closed during active mosquito hours.
  • Keep your grass and vegetation well pruned.
  • Use a plug in mosquito repellent to disperse into the air.
  • One piece of advice to avoid mosquito bite at night is to do a quick search of your room with a torch. Mosquitos often will sit on walls until you are an easier target, so try to get them before they get you!

If you want to read similar articles to How Long Do Mosquito Bites Last, we recommend you visit our Maintenance and home security category.

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