This article was medically reviewed by Shonda Hawkins, MSN, a nurse practitioner and member of the Prevention Medical Review Board, on June 11, 2019.
It’s backyard barbecue season—but you’re not the only one planning a feast. The mosquitos are out and ready to chow down. But before you
When a mosquito lands on your skin, it will feed on your blood—but once it leaves, the proteins in its saliva stay behind. Your immune system sees this is a threat and pumps out histamine (the same response it has to allergens) to attack these proteins. The result? Those unbearably itchy, red welts you remember scratching at as a kid. Luckily, there are ways to get rid of a mosquito bite quickly, and the itching should go away within two to three days.
But it’s not just bites you need to worry about—the aftermath can be unpleasant, too. Mosquitos can carry all sorts of intense diseases, like the West Nile or Zika viruses, or even chikungunya and malaria (which are risks if you travel to certain countries). That’s why preventing mosquito bites in the first place should be a priority during the warmer months.
Entomologists know how these insects operate, which is why we consulted several for the dos and don’ts of repelling these pesky pests.