Are Mosquito Bites Dangerous?

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The Truth About the Dangers of Mosquito Bites

Given all the media attention that these pests get, it’s hard to know whether we should be afraid of mosquitoes or not. Are they simply pests or are they really the flying disease transmitters that we hear about over and over again? The unfortunate news is that they’re both. While your chance of contracting a life-threatening disease from a mosquito bite is extremely minimal, it’s important to know what diseases mosquitoes carry and what the symptoms may look like.


If you’re well prepared you’ll know how to act quickly if you, or someone you know, contracts a disease from a mosquito bite. While serious mosquito-transmitted diseases are uncommon in the US, some people are very allergic to mosquitoes and will experience strong symptoms simply as a reaction to a bite. There are many levels of allergic reactions to mosquitoes; some of us experience an unusual amount of swelling in response to a bite, and other people can go into anaphylactic shock.

Sensitive to Mosquito Bites?

Are you wondering why you’re the one who always seems to end up with more mosquito bites than everyone else? Being a preferred victim of mosquitoes is not something you’ve made up! Mosquitoes have several methods for choosing their prey, and the more criteria you meet, the more likely you are to end up as a tasty summer treat.

Mosquitoes find their victims by detecting heat and carbon dioxide. This means that if you’ve recently exercised, or if you’re overweight or pregnant, mosquitoes will pick you out among a group of people. Scientists haven’t been able to uncover the reasoning behind all of the odd preferences of mosquitoes. These biting insects also exhibit a preference for those with O-type blood, and people with high amounts of uric acid, lactic acid, or ammonia in their body.

Mosquito Bite Complications and Infections

Most mosquito bites won’t cause anything more than a mild allergic reaction. However, in some parts of the world people are at a much higher risk for contracting infectious diseases from their mosquito bites. Mosquitoes transmit many life-threatening illnesses. Many of them are much more common in warmer parts of the world, but encephalitis and West Nile Virus are both present in the lower 48. If you’ve been bitten by a mosquito and you begin to exhibit symptoms such as headache, fever, and extremely low energy, you may have contracted a mosquito-borne illness. The additional symptoms vary between the different diseases.

Malaria causes simultaneous chills, sweating, and a general sense of unease. West Nile Virus, on the other hand, will make you vomit and induce body aches and pains. Zika Virus, which has been proven to cause serious birth defects when a pregnant woman is infected, results in a large reddish rash, soreness in the joints, and conjunctivitis. Dengue Fever, yet another disease transmitted by mosquitoes, can cause pain behind the eyes, joint pain, and in some severe cases will result in bleeding gums. Yellow Fever causes a mixed bag of reactions ranging from red face, tongue and eyes, to sensitivity to light, back pain, chills, and vomiting. Chikungunya will plague its victim with a severe rash, coupled with joint pain and swelling.

Seek medical attention if you have a fever of 101°F or above, a persistent headache, unusual joint pain, nausea, or trouble breathing. These diseases require immediate medical attention and cannot be cured with home remedies. Hold your horses! If you have a slight headache in the summer, don’t immediately attribute it to a dangerous virus. Remember that there are many other causes for headache and bodily discomfort, many of which can be solved by getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and engaging in regular exercise.

How Do You Know if You’re Allergic to Mosquito Bites?

identifymosquitobites2The source of the itchy bumps that almost everyone experiences after a mosquito bite is the immune response. All people are at least a little bit allergic to mosquito saliva, which a female leaves in your skin after feeding. Some people may exhibit more serious allergic reactions, and in the most serious cases, anaphylaxis.

If your mosquito bites are larger than a quarter, or if you experience hives, lesions, or a very broad itch radius around a bite, you may have a more serious form of mosquito allergy. Knowing how your body reacts to mosquito bites can help you to be more prepared in the case of a reaction. If you start to have trouble breathing contact emergency services immediately.

Take Preventative Action for Mosquito Control

Mosquito control is an important part of keeping your family happy and healthy during the summer months. No one wants their summer to be ruined by a mosquito infestation, or even worse, a serious illness. The first and simplest step to any mosquito control plan is to remove any standing water on your property. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, and no body of water is too small for these little creatures. Small puddles, coffee cups left out in the rain, or old tires are all great places for mosquito eggs to mature.

Take personal measures to prevent mosquito bites. Don’t spend time outside during dawn or dusk, as these are mosquitoes’ preferred hunting times. Wear light long-sleeved layers as often as possible to create a physical barrier between your skin and the mosquitoes. Make sure that mosquitoes don’t have easy access to the inside of your home; never leave doors open during the summer, and repair any holes or rips in window or door screens.

In most cases it’s necessary to get the help of a professional in order to keep the number of mosquitoes on your property at a safe, low level. 


February 15, 2019

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