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Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?

What makes a mosquito bite so darned itchy? Is it a poison?

4837 day(s) ago

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In my opinion, mosquitoes are some of the nastiest insects. They swoop down from nowhere to intentionally suck out our precious blood. The nose, or proboscis, of the mosquito is like the needle on a syringe. It is sharp and hollow, so the mosquito can quickly stick it in our skin and suck up the blood. This, however, is not the whole story. As the mosquito sucks up our blood it spits in the hole. The saliva of the mosquito contains chemicals that partially numb the area and keep our blood from coagulating, so it flows smoothly into the mosquito’s stomach. We often don’t even notice the mosquito bite until the mosquito is safely away.

The saliva that the mosquito injects under our skin causes an allergic reaction. When we have an allergic reaction, our body produces chemicals called histamines. Histamines are like an alarm that calls our immune system into action. The histamine is recognized at specialized sites in the body called histamine receptors. When the receptors get a whiff of the histamine they react to signal the immune system. As they are reacting, though, the histamines and receptors cause a few side effects. First, the reaction causes the site with the foreign substance in it to swell. That’s why mosquito bites form a little bump on our skin. Secondly, the reaction causes our nerve endings to freak out, triggering an itch response. This is actually good for us, because it alerts us that something is wrong, and we can more easily find a way to fix it. We also build a tolerance to mosquito bites as we get older, so bites on children tend to swell and itch more than on adults.

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