Mosquitoes are blood feeding insects and are a nuisance during warm weather not only to people but also to animals. The mosquito is attracted to the odour (which may include: exhaled carbon dioxide, fragrances, sweat) and people who wear darker clothes, as dark colours absorb heat.
The female mosquito is responsible for the human bites. This is because the female mosquito requires proteins to produce eggs. Once the mosquito has found the host to obtain a meal, she will feed on the blood until her stomach is filled or is discovered and brushed away.
When the mosquito bites, it injects saliva into the human skin, which contains anti-clotting factors that enable blood flow.
The mosquito bite causes a raised lump on the skin which results in itching, swelling and burning. This is an auto immune response from the human body to the mosquito’s saliva. Other symptoms include redness in the area of the bite. The bite may take few days to heal and stop itching.
are also blood sucking insects which can be mistaken for small cockroaches and ticks. These insects can live anywhere in the house but are most commonly found in beds and mattresses.
Bed bug bite may be tricky to determine as at times there is a delay between the time somebody has been bitten, and the time symptoms show up. The more times a person is bitten, the less delay there is between the biting and the showing of symptoms and hence it may be confused for flea or mosquito bite, a rash or a skin condition.
Bed bugs feed on blood from people mainly at night when the individual is asleep. They are attracted to warm body temperatures and exhaled carbon dioxide.
The bites may occur anywhere on the body but are common on: face, neck, hands, shoulders and arms. Similar to the mosquito, during the bite, the bed bug injects an anticoagulant in the saliva which causes an allergic reaction.
The bed bug bite causes reddening, more itching (than from a mosquito) and swelling of the skin; wheals that decrease progressively over few days to a red spot; blisters may form and may cause loss of skin tissue. The main difference between the mosquito and bed bug bites is the pattern of the bites. Bed bug bites occur in linear pattern of 3 – 4 bites. This is sometimes referred to “breakfast, lunch and dinner”.
The bed bug bites occur as a single bite and are very common to occur in straight line pattern. The actual bite of a bed bug is not painful. The bed bug may remain on the human and feed for up to 10 minutes. The bed bug bite is known to last longer than a mosquito bite.
Management of Mosquitoes and Bed Bugs bites
The insect bites can be itchy and distressing and should not be scratched. The bite site should be washed with antiseptic soap to reduce infection. An ice pack can be applied to reduce the swelling. Calamine lotion or anaesthetic lotion can be used to manage the itching. If painful, take pain killers and if an infection develops, see your doctor for a course of antibiotics.