In this series of blog posts, we will focus on how to spot and treat bug bites. In this first piece, we will focus on the most common pest in all the land: mosquitoes.
What are mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes are blood-sucking insects that carry many dangerous and potentially fatal diseases. Diseases which are commonly transmitted by these insects include malaria, yellow fever, West Nile Virus, Zika Fever, Filariasis, and encephalitis. While not all bites can cause these diseases, you can still develop red, painful bumps at the site of the bite that can become itchy and inflamed.
While both male and female mosquitoes live on plant and fruit nectar, females need to add blood to their diet. Blood helps them generate enough protein to produce eggs. Mosquitoes pick their victims based on their body odor and blood scent. These tiny nuisances like the smell of body odor; lactic acid; carbon dioxide; body secretions; and certain blood types.
Mosquitoes break your skin using a long mouthpiece called proboscis. Saliva then passes through this tube, and the insect begins sucking your blood. The mosquito’s saliva prompts the affected area of the skin to become inflamed within minutes.
Protecting One’s Self from Getting Bitten
How do protect yourself from mosquito bites when you’re out camping? There are several ways to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Here are some of them:
- Wear loose and light-colored clothing. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark-colored clothing. Therefore, wearing light-colored shirts and long sleeves can help keep these nuisances away.
- Keep your lantern away from your sleeping area or tents. Mosquitoes, like other flying insects, are drawn to light. Place your light source some distance away from your sleeping area so that insects can swarm around it without disturbing your slumber.
- Use insect repellent, preferably ones that are waterproof so it won’t wash away easily. Use citronella and eucalyptus oil if you want to go au naturel.
- Have a bonfire? Throw in some sage branches. They work wonders in keeping these insects away. Fires (and the smoke they create) in general work well at keep mosquitoes away, so hanging around a campfire is an excellent way to keep the mossies from biting.
- Set camp in a high and dry place. Stagnant water can serve as breeding ground for mosquitoes.
How to spot a mosquito bite?
Once bitten by these little vampires, you will immediately notice a round red bump forming at the site. After some time, this bump will become hard and start to swell. It will also start to itch soon after the bite.
The redness and swelling will subside after a few days. In severe cases of mosquito bites, or allergies, the victim can develop rashes and hives. If this happens to you, seek medical attention as soon as you notice your mosquito bite is becoming worse.
Treating the Affected Area
If these tiny bloodsuckers bite you, be sure to avoid scratching. This will only break the skin and draw even more blood. More blood means more mosquitoes. Apart from not scratching your mosquito bite, here are additional tips on how you can treat mosquito bites:
- Clean the area with unscented soap. Once bitten, avoid scratching the site. Instead, clean it with an antiseptic or unscented soap.
- Dry the affected area.
- Put topical anti-itch creams or products that relieve the itching. Make sure to keep these products to your first aid kit.
- If scratching is too enticing, try to lightly slap or smack the area for some relief.
Avoiding these pesky intruders entirely is impossible, but these tips can help you and your loved ones stay protected against mosquito bites. If you have suggestions on how to prevent mosquitoes from ruining your camping and hiking activities, feel free to share them by commenting below.