Mosquito bites are a common nuisance for those who live in hot and damp areas. These itchy red bumps are very frustrating, but they can also be quite dangerous. Some mosquitoes are infected and they transmit serious diseases like malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever, West Nile virus, as well as other, less dangerous infections.
When a mosquito bites, it pierces a tiny hole in the skin and injects an anticoagulant substance which causes a reaction usually consisting of redness and itching. In some extreme cases, the mosquito also transmits an infection through the hole in the skin. An infection can also occur if a person scratches the bite, damages the skin and thus allows the infection to spread.
Symptoms of infected mosquito bite
A regular mosquito bite causes a mild to moderate reaction with the symptoms including red bumps at the sting site and itching. These symptoms normally go away within a few hours, if they are not scratched or damaged. Any abnormality that persists for more than a day should be medically examined.
In case the mosquito carries a virus or another pathogen, it can transmit it to the person who is bitten. In some countries many mosquitoes are infected and they spread diseases on epidemic levels.
An infected mosquito bite can also cause a strong allergic reaction, with symptoms like rash all over the body, sneezing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, swelling, coughing and nausea.
The sting site itself can become infected, severely swollen and red, very itchy, painful, with pus forming inside.
All the described symptoms indicate a serious medical problem and should not be overlooked. It is best to report to the nearest doctor immediately.
Treatment and prevention of infected mosquito bites
As with any medical condition and health issue, mosquito bites need to be prevented, if possible. People living in areas with lots of mosquitoes should protect their skin with clothes, cover their windows with protective nets and use a mosquito repellent, which comes in many forms, from candles and room sprays to body sprays, oils, lotions and sticks. If it does occur, a mosquito bite should be washed with running water and an antibacterial soap and cleaned with an antiseptic. If the sting site shows signs of an infection, especially if it is very inflamed and with pus, it can be treated with over-the-counter antibacterial ointments.
However, if the infection persists and if there are other systemic symptoms in the body, which might indicate a serious viral or bacterial infection, it is very important to see a doctor who will perform the tests, diagnose the condition and prescribe an appropriate treatment.