This write-up was medically reviewed by Shonda Hawkins, M.S.N., a nurse practitioner and member that the clinical Review Board.

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A speck of black floats past your challenge or a wispy buzz sound in your ear. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can detect the presence of mosquitoes before they’ve had a chance to bite. But in most cases, girlfriend don’t an alert them until one or two (or five) have actually feasted on your ankles and elbows, causing itchy, red welts to rise up on your skin.

But, why carry out mosquito bites itch so badly? “As component of the feeding process, every blood-feeding organisms introduce saliva right into the wound,” defines Jonathan Day, Ph.D., a mosquito researcher and professor of clinical entomology in ~ the college of Florida.

Proteins in a mosquito’s saliva protect against your blood vessels from clotting, job says, which allows the mosquito to extract your blood an ext quickly and efficiently. When the mosquito has actually finished its meal and also departed, its salivary proteins stay behind. “Your immune system sees those proteins together a foreign substance, and immediately assaults them with histamine,” job says.

Histamine is one immune chemical your cells relax in response to the presence of one injury, allergens, or other irritants. And it’s this histamine the produces the itching and swelling some world experience following a mosquito bite, day explains.

He claims “some people” because, surprisingly, no everyone experience an itchy reaction come mosquito bites. “For many people, the very first time they’re bitten by a type of mosquito, they acquire that reaction,” day explains. “But as you’re bitten more, most civilization cease to have a reaction.” Basically, her immune device learns that a particular form of mosquito’s bite is no a threat, and also so it stops freaking out every time that species of blood-sucker bites you, he says.

But this isn’t true for every people, day adds. Some of us never ever stop enduring that itch. Also, if you travel to a brand-new place with new types that mosquitoes that your immune device hasn’t to be exposed to before, you’re most likely to gain an itchy, inflamed reaction come a bite.

Of course, the best way to stop mosquito bites is to avoid them in the very first place through an reliable insect repellent. If you execute suffer indigenous a bite, the itching have to go away within 2 to three days, day says.

Don’t desire to wait the long? A number of home release can aid you eliminate mosquito bites quickly. While some research reflects that renowned natural options (like using a banana peel to your bite once you’re in a pinch) have the right to temporarily minimize swelling and irritation, the adhering to treatments space the most reliable ways to remove itchy mosquito bites ASAP.


Rubbing alcohol functions really well in to reduce itching and also that histamine response,” work says, including that he constantly carries individually sheathe alcohol wipes as soon as he’s examining mosquitoes in the field. He defines that rubbing alcohol “denatures” the protein in the mosquito’s saliva, an interpretation it removes away the point that her immune device would usually react to with itching or swelling. “Rubbing alcohol additionally has a soothing and also cooling effect,” the adds.

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Applying ice (or anything saturated cold) can reduce swelling, and also should also administer temporary relief from itching, job says. Ice cream won’t eliminate or neutralize the saliva protein the mosquito left behind, and so her bite will likely start to itch again as soon as girlfriend take away the resource of chilly relief. However if you’re in agony and just desire a respite, ice cream is an effective option. Pro tip: A strap-on ice load is useful if you have a number of bites in a focused or hard-to-reach area.