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Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch When You Scratch Them?

'Tis the season for mosquitoes and annoying bug bites. If you love to play outside, trail run, hike, or camp, it's inevitable that you'll get your fair share of bites. They're just so itchy, and it seems that when you scratch them, the more they itch.


When the female mosquito stabs her needle-like proboscis into your skin to suck out your blood, she injects you with her saliva. This is filled with digestive enzymes and anticoagulants, and it helps her drink more quickly. Your body reacts to the saliva by producing histamine. This makes the blood vessels near the bite enlarge, and so a pink, swollen, and itchy bump appears.

Since the bite is so itchy, you can't help but scratch it. The problem is, this irritates the bite, which makes it inflamed, and causes it to itch more. The best thing to do is avoid scratching at all costs. Wash the area with soap and water, and apply an anti-itch cream, like Cortaid. I have found that applying an ice pack helps too.

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