Mosquitoes are cold-blooded creatures. They differ from humans in the sense that their body temperatures gets adjusted according to their current location.
This is why mosquitoes like majority of other insects tend to be more visible during the warmer times of the year. Mosquitoes that are present in temperate regions tend to do a lot of hibernating. There are more than 3,500 different species of mosquitoes ready to ooze out your blood.
Mosquito bites are the itchy bumps that appear after mosquitoes use their mouthparts to puncture your skin and feed on your blood. The bump usually clears up on its own in a few days. Occasionally a mosquito bite causes a large area of swelling, soreness and redness. This type of reaction, most common in children, is sometimes referred to as skeeter syndrome.
Male Mosquitoes Do Not Bite
Male mosquitoes do not bite people and animals. As males do not bite, they cannot transmit diseases. Like all living creatures, mosquitoes require some form of sustenance in order to survive. Both male and female adult mosquitoes actually feed on nectar, plant sap, or honeydew for nourishment. Only the female mosquitoes require a blood meal, as it provides the necessary protein required for egg laying. Blood meals aside, males and females have the same diet.
Female mosquitoes bite people and animals to get a blood meal. Mosquitoes drink up to three times their weight in blood. Most female mosquitoes cannot produce eggs without a blood meal. They need protein and iron from blood to produce eggs. After drinking blood, they find some standing water and lay their eggs in it. Female Mosquitoes lay up to 300 eggs at a time. The eggs hatch into larvae, then pupae, and then they become adult mosquitos.
The males live for about a week to ten days, and the females can live up to several weeks. Some female mosquitoes can hibernate in the winter, and they can live for months.
Symptoms of Mosquito Bites
Some people have only a mild reaction to a bite or bites. Other people react more strongly, and a large area of swelling, soreness, and redness can occur.
Normal mosquito bites can trigger immediate swelling and redness that peaks after about 20 minutes, followed by small itchy bumps that are usually less than 2 centimeters in diameter.
Mosquito bite signs include: a puffy, white and reddish bump that appears a few minutes after the bite, a hard, itchy, reddish-brown bump, or multiple bumps, appearing a day or so after the bite or bites, small blisters instead of hard bumps and dark spots that look like bruises.
More-severe reactions may be experienced by children, adults not previously exposed to the type of mosquito that bit them, and people with immune system disorders. In these people, mosquito bites sometimes trigger: a large area of swelling and redness, low-grade fever, hives and swollen lymph nodes.
Children are more likely to develop a severe reaction than are adults, because many adults have had mosquito bites throughout their lives and become desensitized.
Skeeter syndrome is a relatively rare inflammatory reaction to mosquito bites. Symptoms may develop hours after a mosquito bite and can include a large area of swelling, heat, redness, itching, and pain that mimics what would happen with an infection.
The mark is bigger and longer-lasting. Welts can swell from 2 to 10 centimeters in diameter within an hour of the bite and progress over the next several days. Bumps can be itchy, red, painful, and warm to the touch.
Skeeter syndrome is the result of an allergic reaction to proteins in mosquito saliva. Nearly everyone is sensitive to mosquito bites. But for those with severe allergies, symptoms can be more than just annoying: They can be serious. Most bites occur at either dusk or dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
Mosquitoes bite anyone. However, some factors might prompt mosquito bites. These include: men, pregnant women, people who are overweight or obese, people with type O blood, people who have recently exercised, people who emit higher amounts of uric acid, lactic acid and ammonia and people who have recently drunk beer
Mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide from 75 feet away. Carbon dioxide, which humans and other animals produce, is actually a key signal to mosquitoes that a blood meal is near.
They have a keen sensitivity to CO2 that is present in air. A female mosquito flies back and forth through the CO2 plume until she locates her victim.
Also, because mosquitoes are attracted to heat, wearing dark colors may make you more likely to be bitten. This is because dark colors absorb heat. People living in humid, tropical climates or swamplands are also at greater risk for bites.
Some people have a greater risk of an allergic reaction, too, such as younger children. People with allergies to some of the components of mosquito saliva, such as proteins and antimicrobial agents, may also be at a greater risk of developing Skeeter syndrome.
Do not scratch bites. They can become infected. An infected bite may appear red, feel warm, or a red streak will spread outward from the bite.
Mosquitos currently kill more than a million people each year. Mosquito-borne diseases are increasing under climate change. The risk of developing a serious disease is the most dangerous outcome of a mosquito bite. Bites from mosquitoes carrying certain viruses or parasites can cause severe illness. Infected mosquitoes in many parts of the world transmit West Nile virus to humans. Other mosquito-borne infections include yellow fever, malaria and some types of brain infection (encephalitis). If a person notices a mosquito bite and feels any flu-like symptoms or a fever, they should seek medical treatment immediately.
Preventing Mosquito Bites
As with other allergies, prevention is the best approach. Mosquitoes require standing or stagnant water to breed. If possible, avoid standing water especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
Eliminate standing water around the home by: unclogging rain gutters, emptying children’s pools, cleaning birdbaths and emptying unused containers such as flower pots.
Other ways to prevent mosquito bites include: wearing protective, light-colored clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and a wide-brimmed hat and repairing holes in window or door screens.