If you get giant, itchy mosquito bites, you’re not alone — and here’s why it happens
July is here! Which means it’s time to fight off the ultimate summertime menace — mosquito bites.
Why? Blame it on genetics. According to scientific research, the odor of your skin and the level of carbon dioxide in your body make some individuals predisposed to mosquito attacks.
That said, no one is truly spared the bane of mosquito bites when warm weather comes around. While some people experience more bites than others, there’s a scientific reason why some bites turn into giant welts, while others don’t. Refinery29 talked with a couple dermatologists to get to the bottom of this.
According to Shari Lipner, MD, PhD, assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine, when a mosquito bites you, it injects saliva into the skin which essentially causes an allergic reaction.
The difference in severity of the bite depends on how a person reacts to the allergen. The more allergic you are, the worse the bites will be, and thus the itchier and more uncomfortable they will be. Heather Rogers, a Seattle-based dermatologist, told Refinery29 that while reactions vary, they can occasionally become cause for medical attention.
Another factor in determining the difference the size of the bite is how long the mosquito preys on your skin. The longer they feed, the more saliva gets into your system, Rogers said.
So what should you do when you have a painfully itchy mosquito bite? Well, first of all, don’t forget bug spray to try to fend them off altogether. They feed most during dawn and dusk, so it’s important to remain vigilant during those hours.
But if nothing is stopping those little buggers, try your best to avoid itching. It just makes it even more itchy, and can cause bleeding and scarring.
The trick? Ice cubes.
However, if worse comes to worse, she recommends a 1 percent hydrocortisone cream or an antihistamine like Zyrtec or Allegra.
Stay safe (and itch-free) this summer.