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Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch

Mosquitoes are part of the insect family Culicidae. They are a tiny, two winged insect with six legs and a long abdomen. Mosquitoes have a long needle like mouthpieces that they use to obtain food. The male mosquito dines on nectar and plant juices while the female mosquito uses her proboscis (straw like mouthpieces) to piece the skin of animals and human to drink the blood. There are approximately 3,500 species of mosquito. The word mosquito comes from the Spanish or Portuguese word for little fly.

Why Does It Itch When Mosquitoes Bite?
When a female mosquito “bites” you she actually inserts her proboscis into the upper layer of your skin. Once she has pieced your skins the mosquito is able to use her proboscis to locate blood vessels in the dermal layer underneath. Once the mosquito has located a blood vessel they inject some of their saliva into the skin. Mosquito saliva has anti-coagulant properties. This means that is prevents your blood from clotting quickly. This enables the mosquito to draw enough blood to nourish quickly without you noticing. It is this saliva that causes a mosquito bite to itch. Our body has an immune response to the saliva that is injected and we produce histamines to combat the foreign substance. Histamine is what causes allergic reaction such as hives, rashes, blisters and common hay fever symptoms. When the histamine reaches the area where the saliva was injected it causes the blood vessels in that area to swell. This is why there is usually a red bump where you have been bitten. The swelling of the blood vessels also places pressure on the nearby nerves causing them to feel irritated. Our body feels those signals as itchiness. The duration of the itch depends on how long the histamines continue to swell the blood vessels. The act of scratching the mosquito bite causes the histamine reaction meaning that the area becomes more itchy and irritated.

Some people are more allergic to mosquito bites than others and a mosquito bite can cause bruising and blistering. You can develop immunity to mosquito bites to the point where you hardly notice them. This generally occurs when you are bitten a lot. You body gets use to the saliva and has less of a reaction to it.

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