Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?
Mosquito bites are just as pesky as the bugs themselves! The second you feel relief from scratching the bite, all of the itching comes back. It can be distracting during the day and even interrupt your sleep schedule at night. It’s not fair that such a tiny bite can cause such a big nuisance, right? There are many quick and natural remedies for a mosquito bite, but chances are good you’ve probably asked the question, “WHY does this itch so much??” Learn what makes mosquito bites itch so much, and how to treat them!
The Science Behind the Bite
Did you know that only female mosquitoes bite? She lands on your skin and then pierces it using her feeding stylets. This is her mouthpiece that she uses to probe the skin, and the stylets consist of maxillae and a pair of mandibles. Once she has inserted her feeding stylets, she locates a blood vessel and then begins to siphon blood from that vessel. As the mosquito sucks the blood out, your blood vessels become damaged from the vacuum force. They can collapse or rupture. The mosquito sucks out your blood through a tube called the labium. While this is happening, another tube simultaneously pumps saliva into your body through another tube, called the hypopharynx. Ever wonder why you can never seem to swat a mosquito while she’s on your skin? She prevents your blood from clotting. Her saliva is an anticoagulant, so she can suck out blood rapidly before you even realize she’s there. Her saliva also contains enzymes and proteins that cause an allergic reaction. Your immune system takes care of allergic reactions. To do this, immunoglobulins are sent to the bite area. These antibodies release histamines by breaking down tissue and mast cells. White blood cells and proteins are also sent to the bite area to fight the mosquito’s saliva. Together with the histamines, the white blood cells and proteins make your cells’ capillaries more permeable to filter the saliva out. The only downside is that histamines are what make you itch! With all of this fighting going on, the bite swells up, itches and turns red, all due to the body’s inflammatory response. The reason the bite itches even more when you scratch it is because scratching further inflames the area. This causes your immune system to keep sending histamines, white blood cells and proteins to fight the irritated area.
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