Imagine that you’ve woken up scratching an itch that only seems to be getting worse, unless you dig your fingers in for more scratching. And then you hear the buzzing around your ears, and realize that you’ve been bitten by a mosquito during your sleepy slumber.
Once you’ve scratched that itch, it feels like only minutes later that you find your fingernails diving into the bite once again to provide you with some relief.
What’s the deal with that? Why does scratching mosquito bites feel good?
The histamine reaction in your body causes the itch, and scratching brings (temporary) relief to the itch. Scratching feels pleasurable while you’re doing it, but once you’re done, your bite is worse!
In this article, we’ll explain the phenomenon of scratching mosquito bites.
Why Does Scratching Mosquito Bites Feel Good?
First of all, we need to get something straight.
When a female mosquito bites you (because the males don’t bite humans), she does more than just simply suck on your blood like the little vampire that she is.
When she bites you, she also injects some of her saliva into your skin. This saliva works to help thin out your blood, and makes it easier for her to get at what’s running through your veins.
Her saliva stays in your body after she buzzes off, and this is when your immune system springs into action in order to neutralize it. Your immune system does this by producing antibodies that bind to the antigens (the substances that stimulate the immune response) in the saliva, which helps to neutralize what your body thinks in an invasion of foreign cells.
Her saliva stays in your body after she buzzes off, and this is when your immune system springs into action in order to neutralize it.
Through this process, histamine is produced, which supports your cells in fighting this foreign army of mosquito saliva cells. The histamine is what causes the swelling and inflammation of the cells on the surface of your skin.
And this is when your brain kicks into action, because the swelling sends a trigger signal to your brain that says your skin is itching. When your brain senses that itch, then your immediate reaction is to send your fingers there to scratch it.
When you do scratch the itch, then your brain sends a signal that cancels the pain, but that’s when the cycle starts! Because within seconds, the histamine will react again because scratching the skin makes your skin even more inflamed.
So, that’s why as soon as you scratch it will feel good. But then the relief that you feel will only last for a couple of minutes at most before you find your fingernails wanting to dig in for a good scratching session all over again.
How Can I Stop The Itch?
When you have a mosquito bite, even though the inflammation and swelling of your skin around the bite will make you want to scratch, that’s really the last thing you should do!
Because digging your fingernails into this area will cause damage and eventual scarring, and even make the itching feel even worse.
You can damage your skin, because the bacteria that lives underneath your fingernails has the huge potential of giving you an infection, no matter how often you wash your hands.
And an infection from a bite isn’t fun to deal with.
You can damage your skin, because of the bacteria that lives underneath your fingernails has the huge potential of giving you an infection, no matter how often you wash your hands.
Ice, Ice, Baby
So, in order to stop your itching, there are many things you can use to do this. The first one is easy, and you already have it in your freezer — some ice.
All you need to do is wrap a few blocks of ice (or a bag of frozen peas) in a clean washcloth or small towel, and apply it to the bite.
Taking this action will calm down the inflammation, and can help to reduce the signals that cause histamine to develop.
Another chemical-free way of relieving mosquito bites is by using a device like the Lapadu Itch Healer. This small and portable FDA-cleared electronic tool works by vibrating and heating up the skin around the area of the bite, which helps to increase your blood circulation, and breaks down and neutralizes the venom from the mosquito’s saliva.
The itch healer has four temperature control settings, including a child mode, and its ceramic contact surface makes it safe to use, because the concentrated heating will work to relieve the itching of the bite without damaging the surrounding skin tissue.
It has a C-type input for easy charging, and it makes this reusable device great value for money. A full charge will last for up to 800 uses. The itch healer also works for other insect bites and stings, like fire ants, bees, and wasps.
Patch It Up
Using the Medagel Bug Bite Relief Patch is yet another chemical-free way to combat the itching of any mosquito and other insect bites. The easy-to-carry patches contain soothing arnica and lidocaine, which are combined in a hydrogel to cool and soothe the inflammation, as well as hydrate the skin.
If you like using treatments on your skin, then Afterbite has several balms, gels, and creams that you can use topically to help soothe your mosquito bites. For a more in-depth look at Afterbite’s products, click here to read our article, Does Afterbite Work?
Many find that Calamine Lotion magically soothes insect bites. If you’ve got some in the medicine cabinet, it’s definitely worth trying on your itchy mosquito bites.
Finally, if your mosquito bites are really bad and causing you grief, and you haven’t found any relief from using any of the above recommendations, then you can always resort to taking an over-the-counter antihistamine tablet.
However, this should be a last resort, because taking antihistamines for mosquito bites means that your body will get used to this, and you may find that it’s the only way for you to calm down any more bites that you get in the future.
Scratching mosquito bites has the potential of causing damage and scarring to your skin! So use the recommendations we’ve shared with you in this article, so that you can find fast relief and save the health of your precious skin.