Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?

by ParentCo. June 06, 2016

When a mosquito bites, it pierces your skin and draws blood with the tip of its straw-like mouth, or proboscis. In the process, the mosquito injects some of its own saliva, which contains an anticoagulant that prevents your blood from clotting around the proboscis and trapping the insect. (Only female mosquitoes, which need the nutrients from blood to produce eggs, bite.)

Your immune system recognizes the proteins in the mosquito’s saliva as a foreign substance and “mounts an immediate attack,” releasing histamine as part of the immune response, said Jonathan Day, a professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida in Vero Beach.

“It’s the histamine reaction that causes the itching,” he said. “It’s just like the reaction when you get pollen in your eyes, and it causes local itching.” The histamine also causes your blood vessels to enlarge, creating the wheal, or swollen bump, around the bite.

Source: Ask Well: Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch? - The New York Times



ParentCo.

Author



Also in Conversations

aerial view family members sweeping the road
No, Really, Your Kids Need to Do Chores

by Mark Oliver

As a member of the household, and in the interest of building skills that they'll need for a lifetime, your kids should be doing chores. Here's the case for why.

Continue Reading

baby playing
5 Things to Know about Baby’s First Steps

by Hannah Howard

For your little one, walking means entering a whole new stage of life, where the world is their oyster. Here’s what to know as your little one learns to walk.

Continue Reading

girl with flower
7 Mess-free Ways to Teach your Child about the Environment

by Maria Dontas

If you’re a busy parent looking for easy, dirt-free ways to celebrate our Earth with your child all year long, here are 7 fun, simple ideas to try with your family.

Continue Reading