How to … stop mozzies biting and ways to ease the itch

A summer guide to avoiding run-ins with mozzies, and tips on how to stop the itch.

The great thing about summer is that we get to spend more time outside – dining, socialising and holidaying. But summertime is when mosquitoes breed and feed. Here’s your summer guide to avoiding run-ins with mozzies, and some tips on how to stop the itch.

Mosquitoes usually make their appearance around dusk and dawn, but you can be bitten day and night. When trying to avoid being bitten, remember this rule: cover up, clean up, repel and deter.

Cover up
Try to wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing that covers as much of the body as possible. Mozzies are attracted to darker colours and are able to bite through tight-fitting clothing, such as leggings and jeans.

Clean up
Mozzies lay their eggs in still water, so make sure to empty water for open containers such as pet drinking bowls, flower vases, rainwater tanks and bird baths in and around your home.

Repel
Use an insect repellent containing DEET (diethyltoluamide) or picaridin. Make sure to use caution with chemical sprays, especially when using near the face, around children and indoors. When outdoors, mosquito coils can also be effective.

Deter
When it comes to protecting yourself and your family in the home, close all windows and doors without insect screens before dusk and dawn. Mozzies can also get through air vents and chimneys, so installing screens on these can help deter them.

What happens when you’re bitten?
Mosquito bites, while annoying, are generally harmless. When you’re bitten, the mozzie uses its sharp, tubular proboscis to pierce the skin and inject its saliva, which contains an anticoagulant. This thins the blood and makes it easier for the mozzie to siphon out. The saliva is an irritant and the body has an allergic reaction.

Interestingly, researchers in 2012 discovered that a mozzie’s proboscis is so fine that it’s capable of piercing individual blood cells and sucking them dry.

Tips to stop the itch
There are a number of home remedies for relieving mozzie bite itch. These include applying:

  • crushed ice for short-term relief
  • honey or aloe vera to reduce inflammation
  • an oatmeal or baking soda paste (mixed with water)
  • raw onion to reduce sting and irritation
  • chamomile tea to speed up healing.

 

The way your body reacts to a bite depends on your immune system. Some people are more sensitive to mozzie bites and can have stronger allergic reactions. If the itch is too much to bear or the bite site swells, an antihistamine pill, cream or gel may be required. You can also take an antihistamine pill as soon as you’re bitten to deal with the inflammation.

If the bite becomes very swollen or infected, or you develop cold-like symptoms, you should see a doctor.

Have you been bitten but don’t know by what? This government-supported symptom checker can help you identify and treat bites and stings.

What are your tips for avoiding mozzie bites and stopping the itch?

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    COMMENTS

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    jackiet
    30th Dec 2018
    12:10pm
    Pedantic, I know, but mozzies have absolutely no means of biting. They sting.
    As for emptying those garden containers - there's no need to do that until the larvae (wrigglers) appear.
    musicveg
    30th Dec 2018
    1:22pm
    Why put toxic chemicals on your body? Better to use natural repellents, Lavender is good it also calms the bite, make up a spray bottle.
    Sixtiger
    30th Dec 2018
    1:55pm
    To stop the itching for about 8 hours at a time, I use the treatment from a doctor at Stanford University in California. I've been doing it for at least 37 years and it does wonders for me. He wrote it up for treating Poison Oak, a itchy rash one can get from the oil on Poison Oak leaves. I first used it for that but then tried it for mozzzies and it worked as well. Simply put the itchy bite under hot water for about 30 seconds. The heat brings out the histamines from the sting. I almost always get the itch-free 8 hours. I use water as hot as I can take, but I don't think it has to be burning hot. Try it. See what you think. I hope it works for you.
    emjay
    30th Dec 2018
    5:20pm
    NOT generally harmless, as many sufferers from Ross River virus will confirm. For easy relief from the irritation of a sting, neat tea tree oil is great.
    Nika
    30th Dec 2018
    8:14pm
    A mozzie bite gets quite bad on me so I've put in a pond wherever I live. Best trap there is. Haven't had a bite for years. Screens don't stop them, they land on the screen and climb through. It's also a myth they only breed in shallow water or still water. Know thy enemy.
    suesit
    30th Dec 2018
    11:29pm
    I used to suffer from mozzies but since I started drinking tonic water on a regular basis I hardly ever have any problems. Not only is it inexpensive (unless you add the gin, of course), but it is far more natural than using chemical sprays, etc. The quinine in tonic water seems to deter the mozzies very effectively.


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