When I was three years old, I got bit by a mosquito and my thigh swelled to three times the size of the other one. My mom freaked out, took me to the doctor, and they told her I was allergic to mosquito bites.
Ever since, I seem to blow up like the Michelin Man whenever I get bit by mosquitos.
Why do some people react more than others?
The short answer is: I don’t know. In my research, I couldn’t find anything substantial to explain this.
Here’s what I do know: some people don’t react, most people mildly react, and a small percentage of people, like me, react significantly to bites from these little flying needles. And the reactions can suck.
When I get bit, the area swells up fast. It starts with a little white puffy circle and gradually inflames to a golf ball-sized red dome. It gets hot to the touch and annoyingly itchy. In the worst of cases, the area won’t return to normal for over a week.
A mosquito needle is called a proboscis.
Mosquitos insert their proboscis into your skin to draw your blood. When they do this, they also secrete their saliva.
Mosquito saliva is made up of two things: an anticoagulant (which prevents the blood from clotting around the mosquito’s mouth and getting stuck) and proteins/enzymes.
It’s the proteins/enzymes that some people are overly sensitive to.
When the mosquito’s saliva hits your bloodstream, your immune system reacts and releases histamine. Some people are also overly sensitive to histamine, which creates the perfect inflammatory storm.
I haven’t found a root solution yet, meaning that if I don’t intervene with each bite, I still blow up like a balloon most of the time.
That being said, I have found something that works well. You need to take action with every bite, but it’s a small price to pay for the relief the remedy brings.
This is the Bug Bite Thing. It models an ancient technique of sucking the poison out of insect bites.
When you get bit by a mosquito:
- Place the suction cup end around the bite area
- Make sure:
- the lever is in the down position
- you are pressing the device down so there are no air gaps
- Make sure:
- Pull the lever up (you will feel a sucking sensation)
- Repeat the sucking motion as many times as necessary
I usually do it about 20-30 times per bite to ensure the poison is out. Plus, it feels really good. Sometimes I’ll even do it the next day on bites that are still healing. At that point, it’s too late to remove the poison, but it feels great. It’s the next best thing to itching.
When I use the Bug Bite Thing on a fresh bite, it prevents it from swelling. Some bites will mildly swell, but nothing like they used to. Now, the worst the swelling ever gets is about 70% of what it used to be. This is a remarkable improvement if you ask me.
The Bug Bite Thing – hands down – has been a saving grace for me during mosquito season. Without this little device, my life would definitely suck more. If you try just one thing from this post, try the Bug Bite Thing.
Note: use the device as close to the bite (time-wise) as you can. I aim to get to it within 30 minutes of being bit. The closer to the bite you can get, the better.
Try icing and oils, too
Icing the area also helps. And Lavender essential oil can be good for itching and inflammation.
Mosquito bite prevention spray
I found this DIY spray that is a pretty good mosquito deterrent. When I wear it, I smell like vinegar which isn’t the greatest, but it definitely decreases the volume of bites I get. I still get bit, just not as much.
Here’s my version of the spray (just a few mods away from the original due to ingredients I didn’t have on hand).
In a spray bottle, mix the following:
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp rubbing alcohol
- 30 drops geranium essential oil
- 30 drops citronella essential oil
- 20 drops lemon essential oil
- 20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 20 drops lavender essential oil
Spray on exposed skin before you venture into areas with mosquitos.
If you swell up big-time when you get bit by mosquitos, start with the Bug Bite Thing. Within 30 minutes of getting the bite, repeat the sucking motion 20-30 times.
To really tackle the bite, ice for a few minutes after using the Bug Bite Thing, then place a few drops of Lavender essential oil on the area. These steps are optional, but they do help.
If you’re looking to decrease the volume of bites you get while outdoors, try the DIY mosquito deterrent. It doesn’t prevent 100% of bites, but it does deter some of the mosquitos. And note, you will smell like vinegar.
If you are interested in watching or listening to this, I created a video on YouTube presenting this information.