Mosquito Bite Symptoms and Treatment
Female mosquitoes bite people and animals to get a blood meal. Most female mosquitoes cannot produce eggs without a blood meal. Male mosquitoes do not bite people and animals.
What Happens When a Mosquito Bites You
When a mosquito bites you, it pierces the skin using a special mouthpart (proboscis) to suck up blood. As the mosquito is feeding, it injects saliva into your skin. Your body reacts to the saliva resulting in a bump and itching.
Some people have only a mild reaction to a bite or bites. Other people react more strongly, and a large area of swelling, soreness, and redness can occur.
Mosquito bite signs include:
- A puffy and reddish bump appearing a few minutes after the bite
- A hard, itchy, reddish-brown bump, or multiple bumps appearing a day or so after the bite or bites
- Small blisters instead of hard bumps
- Dark spots that look like bruises
More severe reactions can occur in:
- Adults bitten by a mosquito species they haven’t been exposed to previously
- People with immune system disorders
People experiencing more severe reactions may have the following signs:
- A large area of swelling and redness
- Low-grade fever
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Wash the area with soap and water.
- Apply an ice pack for 10 minutes to reduce swelling and itching. Reapply ice pack as needed.
- Apply a mixture of baking soda and water, which can help reduce the itch response.
- Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with just enough water to create a paste.
- Apply the paste to the mosquito bite.
- Wait 10 minutes.
- Wash off the paste.
- Use an over-the-counter anti-itch or antihistamine cream to help relieve itching. Follow the product label directions.
- Do not scratch bites. They can become infected.
- An infected bite may appear red, feel warm, or a red streak will spread outward from the bite.
- See a healthcare provider if symptoms worsen.
- Mosquitoes spread germs through bites. Viruses like West Nile and dengue and parasites like malaria can make you sick.
- A mosquito gets infected with a virus or parasite when it bites a person or animal that is infected. The infected mosquito can spread germs to other people or animals through bites.
- Not everyone infected with a mosquito-borne germ gets sick.
Prevent Mosquito Bites
You can protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellentsexternal icon.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Treat clothing and gear with permethrin.
- Control mosquitoes inside and outside.
- Prevent mosquito bites when traveling overseas.
Activity Book for Kids – Mosquito Bites are Bad!