Is it true that mosquitoes bite some people more? An expert reveals

Is it that some people get more bitten by mosquitoes, while others stay protected? Does this have any truth? Well, let’s find out about this and much more, in this piece.

mosquito and dengue
Use natural preventive measures to keep mosquitoes away. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Geetika Sachdev Published on: 19 August 2021, 09:34 am IST
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Imagine you’ve been invited to an outdoor party, and your excitement knows no bounds. Dressed to the nines, you reach the spot, only to be attacked by bloodsucking mosquitoes that drain all your energy. Well. that’s because you just can’t stop scratching yourself. In no time, you spot redness on your legs. Such a bummer, right?

That’s exactly why on this World Mosquito Day, we are going to touch upon some pertinent issues, including why mosquito bites itch so much, and certain ways in which you can keep yourself protected. We have with us Dr Vikrant Shah, consulting physician, intensivist and infectious disease specialist, Zen Multispeciality Hospital, Chembur to share his expert insights. So, are you ready to know all about this?

Why do mosquito bites itch so much?

We often call mosquitoes bloodsuckers, because that’s what they do! So, every single time you see them sitting proudly on your skin (trying to suck your blood), they leave behind some saliva that contains protein. Your body automatically considers this intrusion, and your immune system comes into action. To provide protection, your body releases histamines. So, don’t be surprised when you see redness, much later after the bite. 

mosquitoes bite
A mosquito bite can mess up with your whole life. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that mosquito bites are particularly worse for infants or those who are immunocompromised. But severe allergies to mosquito bites are quite rare, so if you notice hives, swelling and redness or struggle with breathing, then don’t wait and see a doctor.

“Every reaction or disease has to do with your immune system. Old people, infants, diabetics, those who have decreased immune function, those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or those who are on steroids have poor immune systems. So, there is a breach in the host defence mechanism. People who are vulnerable are more at risk,” explains Dr Shah. 

It is also important not to scratch the bite, because that will only flare up the infection and cause more redness. 

Commonalities between Covid-19 and mosquito-borne diseases

We are also currently living in an age, where every little symptom including fever and body ache signals the occurrence of Covid-19. This makes it particularly difficult to understand if it’s the Covid-19 virus or an attack by mosquitoes on your immune system. 

mosquitoes bite
Mosquitoes bite can also lead to other skin problems. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“On top of Covid, these mosquito-borne illnesses mimic symptoms like chills and fever and body pain. It will be confusing to differentiate between what is going on, and for that, it is essential to get tested. Unfortunately, this is also increasing the healthcare burden,” adds Dr Shah. 

What is the solution to deal with mosquitoes?

To begin with, Dr Shah makes a pertinent point about exercising caution in our own households. 

“Patients with mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria and dengue are rising. They breed their eggs in stagnant water. Some of them also find flower pots that we keep outside conducive for breeding; they get a chance of laying their eggs there and that’s how it spreads,” he says. 

mosquitoes bite
Can a dengue infection protect you covid-19? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Apart from this, make sure to use cool compresses, over-the-counter antihistamines as well as topical corticosteroids to reduce the effect of allergic reactions. By putting ice, you can reduce inflammation and at the same time, tackle any irritation that you face. 

Also, make sure to apply an over-the-counter calamine lotion. Pick ointments that contain ingredients like lidocaine or benzocaine to numb the pain, if any. In case you want quick action from scratchy bites, take an antihistamine. Some people also get relief by rubbing alcohol for a cooling effect. 

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About the Author
Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.

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