With dengue fever on the rise across the world, it is necessary to know how to adequately protect yourself from getting bitten by a mosquito. In order to do this, you need to learn which parts of your body are the most susceptible to a mosquito bite so you can protect those vulnerable areas the most. For example, if you don’t wear a hat, will a mosquito bite your scalp?
A mosquito cannot bite your scalp as mosquitoes tend to bite stretches of exposed skin, and your scalp is covered with hair. The one exception might be if you are bald. If you are suffering from insect bites on your scalp, those are probably lice bites.
To find out more about which body parts are the most alluring to a mosquito, how a mosquito bite can affect you, and some prevention tips to take to finally be rid of these buzzing menaces, keep reading.
How Does a Mosquito Bite Affect a Human?
If you’ve ever been bitten by a mosquito, you will know that a mosquito bite is accompanied by swelling, redness, and the occasional rash. But why does this happen?
When the proboscis of a mosquito pierces human skin, blood is drawn up from the punctured blood vessel into the mosquito. While it is feeding, the mosquito injects saliva into your body that acts as an anticoagulant, preventing blood from clotting so that the insect does not get stuck in a hardened blood clot mid-drink.
As this saliva is foreign to the human body, an immune system reaction is triggered in an attempt to protect the body from this foreign substance. The immune system releases histamine, a steroid that increases blood flow, white blood cell count, and sends signals to the nerves around the affected area. This results in inflammation and itching where you have been bitten.
To learn more about your body’s immune response, you can watch this video:
Why Are Mosquitoes So Dangerous?
Beyond the slight irritation caused by a bite, mosquitoes carry with them much more severe diseases that can be transmitted from insects to humans when they bite.
Some examples of common mosquito-borne diseases are:
Symptoms of Dengue include:
- Muscular aches and pains
- Bleeding from the nose and gums
- Bloody vomit
When contacted by pregnant women, the Zika virus results in birth defects. Other symptoms include:
- muscle pain
- Itching throughout the body
Malaria is characterized by:
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
For the first few days after contracting Yellow fever, you will not exhibit any symptoms. Then, you will experience the acute phase that is characterized by typical symptoms like:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Red eyes, face, and tongue
- Muscle aches
If you are unlucky enough to enter the fatal toxic phase, you might undergo:
- Liver and kidney failure
- Slowing of the heart rate
- Brain dysfunction
West Nile Virus
The most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States, most individuals that are bitten, do not exhibit any symptoms. For the ones that do, they will either exhibit:
- A fever with other non-lethal symptoms that can easily be recovered from
- Encephalitis or meningitis that takes longer to recover from and might result in permanent injury to the nervous system or, in more severe cases, death.
Symptoms for Chikungunya are similar to those of Dengue, with the exception of debilitating joint pain that might last throughout the entirety of your life.
What to Treat a Mosquito Bite for the Itch
If you want to rid your body of the persistent itching caused by a mosquito bite, you should consider investing in one or more of the following products:
- Calamine lotion. Caladryl’s Clear Calamine Lotion works to relieve itchiness by creating a cooling sensation as it evaporates from your skin. It can be used to treat other bug bites and minor cuts as well.
- Hydrocortisone cream. Cortizone-10’s Lotion contains 1% hydrocortisone that works to reduce inflammation around your bite.
- A cool compress. Applying a cool compress on a red, inflamed bite reduces swelling and numbs the area slightly to reduce itching. Do so several times a day for optimum relief.
- An oral antihistamine. These block the effects of histamine and are available in the form of pills and gels such as Benadryl, Chlor-Trimeton, etc.
Where Is a Mosquito Likely to Bite You?
Mosquitoes bite exposed areas of skin. Mosquito bites frequently occur on the:
- Back of the neck
- Behind the knees
Why Are Mosquitoes Circling Above My Scalp?
Even though mosquitoes will never bite you on the scalp as it is not exposed skin, they might still hover above your head. Here are a few reasons why:
- A mosquito wants to bite you. Mosquitoes have sensors on their antennae that can detect changes in the levels of carbon dioxide. When you exhale and expel carbon dioxide from your body as you undergo respiration, you are unknowingly broadcasting your presence as a potential food source to a mosquito, and they will be attracted to you!
- A group of mosquitoes is undergoing mating. Mosquitoes form mating swarms above inanimate objects, where the males will try their best to be the one to breed with the female. If there is one such swarm above you, it is probably a mating swarm. That is why moving your head does nothing to dispel the swarm.
Precautions to Take to Prevent From Getting Bitten by a Mosquito
Here are a few tips to follow to prevent yourself from getting bitten:
- Wear light colors in the afternoon. According to Jonathan Day, a professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida, mosquitoes are attracted to darker colors as these are the ones that stand out visually in the afternoon. To be a less attractive target, wear light, breathable fabrics.
- Cover up. Mosquitoes usually only bite exposed skin, so if you are wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, there will be a smaller amount of exposed skin, and you are less likely to be bitten.
- Wear mosquito repellent that contains at least 15% DEET. The greater the concentration of DEET in a repellent, the longer your mosquito repellent will last you. You can use these Repel Mosquito Wipes or the OFF! Repellent Spray, depending on which form you prefer.
Preventing Your House From Becoming a Mosquito Breeding Ground
If you keep getting bitten by mosquitoes at home, it’s probably because these pesky little insects are breeding in your home. Some actions that you take to prevent your home from turning into a breeding ground include:
- Removing all sources of stagnant water. Be it the still water in the flower plates or the drain, any sources of still water are a prime location for mosquitoes to lay their eggs and propagate their life cycle.
- Effectively using scents to ensure mosquitoes avoid your home. You can use items like PIC’s Mosquito Coils or Citronella Incense Sticks, which release odors that will deter a mosquito from ever making its way into your living room, even if the window is open.
Although a mosquito will not bite your scalp, it will still bite other exposed skin areas on your body. As a result, you should take the necessary precautions to prevent these pesky critters from biting you, especially as they can carry with them a number of dangerous diseases – most of which have no specific cures.
If you practice all the tips and tricks listed in this article, you will be able to more than adequately protect yourself from the pest that is the mosquito.