Applying saliva to mosquito bites

Is it true that; when you apply your own saliva to a mosquito bite it would stop itching ?

There have been many personal experiences documented where people have experienced relief from itching of mosquito bites on the application of their own saliva to the itchy spot (reference 1, reference 2) It helps to reduce the itching because saliva has been proven to speed up tissue repair and has antibacterial properties. It also provides a moisturising effect on the itchy spot (reference). Salt is also known to provide relief to itching (reference) and the slight salt content of saliva helps in that respect too.

Your brain thinks there's a good possibility that this can work. So it does on many people. Placebo effect. Works also for many many other things.

Kinda it can stop itching but mostly just helps it not itch and it has some antibacterial in it. but another thing you could do is add mud (if your outside doing stuff). That will more stop the itching if no answers to this question is helpful then try contacting a doctor and ask about what will help/not help mosquito bite.

The Science Behind Mosquito Bites

Ever wondered what happens when a mosquito bites you? Why the bite itches? How to treat the bite?

Everyone knows mosquitoes are a nuisance, but not everyone knows how these creatures work. Despite their small size, mosquitoes can cause a lot of harm– not to mention they are the deadliest animals in the world.

Knowing the science behind mosquitoes and their bites is important for us as mosquito control professionals. We also believe it is important to educate our customers on these things in order to practice thorough mosquito control. So, here are some things you might not have known about mosquitoes, their infamous bites, and how to treat them:

Why do mosquitoes bite?

The short answer is, mosquitoes bite to survive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, female mosquitoes need a blood meal to lay their eggs. In order to get that blood meal, they must feed on humans and/or animals. Because blood meals are only needed to lay eggs, male mosquitoes do not bite people and typically feed off of flower nectar and fruit juices.

What happens when a mosquito bites you?

Mosquitoes have a mouthpart on their heads called a proboscis. Female mosquitoes use their proboscis to pierce the skin of their host and suck its blood. Since male mosquitoes do not need to feed on blood, their proboscis is not strong enough to pierce the skin of a human or animal.

Why do mosquito bites itch?

Mosquitoes are known for leaving a nasty bite when they are done feeding on a host. But what makes a mosquito bite itch? It’s actually very simple: when a mosquito bites a person (or animal), it injects a little bit of saliva into the host. The itchiness that follows is a result of your body reacting to the mosquito’s saliva.

How do you treat a mosquito bite?

There are a few different ways you can treat a mosquito bite. The CDC recommends the following:

  • Washing the bite with soap and water
  • Applying an ice pack for 10 minutes to reduce swelling and itchiness
  • Applying a mixture of baking soda and water

How can you prevent mosquito bites?

While knowing how to properly treat mosquito bites is important, learning how to prevent mosquito bites is even more crucial. The purpose of mosquito control is to protect you and your family from mosquitoes and the diseases they carry, which means putting an end to mosquito bites. Here are some ways you can prevent mosquito bites around your home and outdoor space:

  • Get rid of any standing water in your yard. Standing water tends to collect in items like trash can lids, tire swings, and children’s toys.
  • Wear insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus when you are outside.
  • Minimize your outdoor activity during dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are typically most active.
  • Hire a local mosquito control company

Hiring a local mosquito control company is the best way to ensure mosquitoes stay away from your property. At Mosquito Authority, we use proven treatments to make sure you have a mosquito-free yard.
Find your local mosquito control company here.

Mosquitos bite humans because they are attracted to our blood. As a mosquito bites, it impales the skin and injects its own saliva while drawing out blood. To protect itself from the saliva, the human body’s immune system begins to release histamine so white blood cells can travel to the impacted area. The histamines cause the area to swell and to feel itchy or irritated.

Not everyone experiences itchiness following a mosquito bite, especially if the person has never been bitten before or has been bitten so frequently that they’ve built up a tolerance to it. The degree to which itchiness, redness and irritation can occur will also vary on a case-by-case basis.

Is there an alternative to creams and sprays?

You may not like the sticky feel on your skin but topical repellents are really the best way to stop mosquito bites. There are, however, a few options available that can at least reduce the number of bites and are worth a try.

However, you should skip the wristbands and patches – they don’t work.

Mosquito coils are a mainstay of outdoor life in many mosquito-plagued parts of the world. Studies have shown that they are good at reducing the number of bites, but not so good at preventing disease. To get the best protection, go for those that contain an insecticide, not just plant-based products, as they will kill any mozzies buzzing about. Smelly smoke will just make life uncomfortable for the mozzies.

If the idea of a smoke-filled backyard isn’t for you, you can try some of the new “smoke-free” devices.

Instead of a smouldering coil, there are some battery-operated and “plug-in” devices that release products that kill or repel mosquitoes. These devices typically release an insecticide from a heated pad or oil reservoir.

These can be useful when used indoors at night to stop the pesky buzzing, but there are also devices that can be taken on the go. Whether you’re clipping them to your belt or backpack or sitting them on your picnic table, they won’t provide an impenetrable shield against mosquitoes but they will at least keep some away.

Applying Saliva to Mosquito Bites to Relief Itchiness

3,953 views 6 Comments

Ayden woke up from his nap all itchy and restless. He kept scratching his legs and when I checked, there were 3 red dots from mosquito bites. Darn. Immediately I applied my saliva onto those dots to stop the itch.

Do you believe it? That applying saliva on mosquito bites will immediately stop the itch? I do as I have been doing that since I got Ethan almost 8 years ago.

When I was younger, I used to use my fingernails to mark the dots with an ‘X’. I don’t know why but somehow it feels so much better when I put a cross on those bite marks. These days I can’t do that anymore as we are not allowed to simply put a ‘cross’ anywhere as it is religion sensitive >_<

Back to applying saliva on mosquito bites, it really helps. I don’t recommend applying on broken skin though. I use it as the first stage relief especially when I am out of the house with nothing in hand. I’ll always have my saliva with me so just quickly apply some and the itch is gone almost immediately. It is really amazing. You should try this too the next time you get kissed by a mosquito. Ayden got bitten by a kerengga (big red ants) in the playground once and I quickly applied saliva on it. It works too as he doesn’t feel any itch. You’ll still see the red dot but the itch won’t be there.

Anyway, after I applied my saliva onto Ayden’s leg today, I left him there to go into the kitchen to wash my hands. I walked out to see him applying HIS saliva onto his legs! His entire leg is already full of saliva yet he is still trying to spit out more saliva to apply.

Ish! Monkey see monkey do lah this little boy of mine >_<

Mosquito spit helps viruses make us sick

When a mosquito infects you with a viral disease such as Zika or dengue, it does more than just deliver a few virus particles under your skin. The saliva it injects also causes an inflammation that helps the virus multiply and quickly spread to other parts of your body, according to a new study. The research suggests that there might be a surprisingly easy way to prevent infections in people who have just been bitten: applying an anti-inflammatory cream to the bite site.

When mosquitoes bite, they inject a tiny amount of their saliva (less than a microliter), which contains a specialized, potent cocktail of molecules that numb the pain of the bite and stop the blood from clotting. Many pathogens hitch a ride in the saliva, and they, too, seem to benefit: Mice develop more severe infections when a virus is injected by a mosquito than by a researcher using a needle. But, until now, it had been unclear why.

Clive McKimmie, an immunologist at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, and his colleagues set out to find the answer. They infected mice with a relatively harmless variety of the Semliki Forest virus (SFV), a relative of chikungunya. When the strain was injected into the skin, none of the mice got very sick, and all of them survived. But when injected into a mosquito bite on the skin, the virus spread faster and more easily to the rest of the body. Four of 11 mice died from the infection.

Apparently, the virus needed mosquito saliva to get going in its new host. But why? One theory has been that compounds in the saliva suppress the immune system. But the researchers found that that is not the case. Instead, saliva triggers an inflammation, essentially a warning that the body’s defenses have been breached. A class of cells known as neutrophils, which act as the body's first responders, rush to the bite site. These in turn recruit macrophages, cells whose job it is to gobble up microbes or anything else that does not belong in the body.

Using SFV labeled with a fluorescent dye, the researchers discovered that the macrophages are themselves infected by the virus and start spreading the disease further, like policemen joining a mob they are meant to control. When the researchers infected a strain of mice lacking macrophages with SFV, the mice fared similarly well whether they had been infected at a bite site or not. This shows that the virus actually uses the macrophages to replicate and disseminate quickly in the body, the authors write in Immunity today.

The paper is exciting because "it is the first example I know of where the virus is using the host response to increase the success of transmission to a new host,“ says David Schneider, a microbiologist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who was not involved in the study. Mosquito-borne viruses face a particular challenge, he says, because they need to establish an infection from the few virus particles transmitted by a mosquito bite, and then become abundant enough to be taken up again when the next mosquito bites. “It just goes to show you that for every host defense mechanism, you can be sure some pathogen will be trying to exploit it,” says Andrew Read, an evolutionary biologist at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, who was not involved in the study.

McKimmie hopes that dampening the immune response after a bite, for instance by applying an anti-inflammatory cream, could make severe infections of mosquito-borne viruses less likely. "Obviously this needs a lot more work before we start recommending any form of public health advice,“ he says.

Schneider warns that suppressing an immune reaction may have drawbacks: “The risk there is always that there is a hidden secondary infection that will now be able to grow out of control and hurt the patient,“ he says. And widespread use of such a therapy could even lead to the evolution of more virulent pathogens that make do without the immune system’s help, he argues.

But McKimmie says there's no evidence that the strategy would drive virus evolution in any way. And there is no need to suppress the immune system as a whole, he says—just local inflammation. And even if it should prove to work one day, the treatment would only be a plan B, he says: "The best way to not be infected is not to be bitten.”

Researchers Turn Mosquitoes Into Flying Vaccinators

Here's a study to file under "unworkable but very cool." A group of Japanese researchers has developed a mosquito that spreads vaccine instead of disease. Even the researchers admit, however, that regulatory and ethical problems will prevent the critters from ever taking wing—at least for the delivery of human vaccines.

Scientists have dreamed up various ways to tinker with insects' DNA to fight disease. One option is to create strains of mosquitoes that are resistant to infections with parasites or viruses, or that are unable to pass the pathogens on to humans. These would somehow have to replace the natural, disease-bearing mosquitoes, which is a tall order. Another strategy closer to becoming reality is to release transgenic mosquitoes that, when they mate with wild-type counterparts, don't produce viable offspring. That would shrink the population over time.

The new study relies on a very different mechanism: Use mosquitoes to become what the scientists call "flying vaccinators." Normally, when mosquitoes bite, they inject a tiny drop of saliva that prevents the host's blood from clotting. The Japanese group decided to add an antigen-a compound that triggers an immune response-to the mix of proteins in the insect's saliva.

A group by led by molecular geneticist Shigeto Yoshida of Jichi Medical University in Tochigi, Japan, identified a region in the genome of Anopheles stephensi-a malaria mosquito-called a promoter that turns on genes only in the insects' saliva. To this promoter they attached SP15, a candidate vaccine against leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease spread by sand flies that can cause skin sores and organ damage. Sure enough, the mosquitoes produced SP15 in their saliva, the team reports in the current issue of Insect Molecular Biology. And when the insects were allowed to feast on mice, the mice developed antibodies against SP15.

Antibody levels weren't very high, and the team has yet to test whether they protect the rodents against the disease. (Only very few labs have the facilities for so-called challenge studies with that disease, says Yoshida.) In the experiment, mice were bitten some 1500 times on average that may seem very high, but studies show that in places where malaria is rampant, people get bitten more than 100 times a night, Yoshida points out. In the meantime, the group has also made mosquitoes produce a candidate malaria vaccine.

Other researchers are wowed by the achievement. "The science is really beautiful," says Jesus Valenzuela of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, who developed the SP15 vaccine. David O'Brochta, an insect molecular geneticist at the University of Maryland, College Park, calls it "a fascinating proof of concept."

So why won't it fly? There's a huge variation in the number of mosquito bites one person received compared with the next, so people exposed to the transgenic mosquitoes would get vastly different doses of the vaccine it would be a bit like giving some people one measles jab and others 500 of them. No regulatory agency would sign off on that, says molecular biologist Robert Sinden of Imperial College London. Releasing the mosquitoes would also mean vaccinating people without their informed consent, an ethical no-no. Yoshida concedes that the mosquito would be "unacceptable" as a human vaccine-delivery mechanism.

However, flying vaccinators-or "flying syringes" as some have dubbed them -may have potential in fighting animal disease, says O'Brochta. Animals don't need to give their consent, and the variable dosage would be less of a concern.

Itchy mosquito bites boost infection

The itchiness of a mosquito bite isn't just an aggravation: scientists have discovered that the inflammation that makes you want to scratch, dramatically boosts the infection rate for viruses like Zika, dengue and yellow fever, that the insects can carry. Clive McKimmie is at the University of Leeds, and explained his research to Chris Smith.

Clive - When mosquitoes bite you, what they're doing is they're trying to take a blood meal from your skin but, in the process, are spitting out saliva into your skin. This rather disgusting to think about, but this saliva actually contains a lot of disease causing viruses and some of these are quite well known such as the zika virus, dengue virus, and chikungunya and together that infects maybe several hundred million people each year. What we do know is that the mosquito bite somehow tends to be helping virus infection and giving it a boost.

Chris - So, over and above the physical fact you've got this flying hypodermic needle that comes along and injects you with virus particles, there is an effect in addition to just putting the virus into you whereby the mosquito increases your likelihood of catching whatever it happens to be carrying itself?

Clive - That's it. We actually know very little really about what happens during the early stages of infection, and what we've done in our recent paper is to show how - what we call the mechanistic basis - by which the mosquito bite really seems to help the virus infection along.

Chris - And how does it, what does it do?

Clive - There's two things going in here. Firstly you have a bite and I think anyone who's been bitten by a mosquito knows what that's like. You get a horrible red swelling, there's some what we call inflammation. What your body is doing actually is perfectly normal. Whenever you get injured or cut, what happens is your immune cells, these are the cells that help to defend your body against infection, they rush to the site of the damage which is the mosquito bite in this case and they're trying to stop any infection that's there, but actually what happens is quite strange. These immune cells that we call leukocytes actually seem to get infected by the virus if it's present, and the virus takes over these cells and uses to replicate so there's more and more copies of the virus in your skin. So if you can stop those cells coming into the bite site, then you can also stop the virus from getting that extra boost.

Chris - Does this mean then we might have a new way of arresting the spread of some of these viral agents so that you might, for instance, have something that you could rub on which would cut down the risk of a virus infecting you via that route?

Clive - Well, we've certainly shown in the laboratory setting where everything's very well controlled that if you can stop that bite inflammation, then you can stop the virus from causing disease. Now the next step, obviously, is to work out how best we can do that before we could even begin to imagine doing any studies in humans. Because I think we have to be very careful about any form of immune suppression because that can actually be quite dangerous, even if it is a topical cream. We're very keen now that the next step is to say can we use this knowledge to stop the virus from spreading by targeting the bite inflammation, and that's particularly exciting because it's common to a lot of these infections. Whether it's zika or dengue, they're all transmitted by the same mosquito into the bite site.

Chris - That was going to be my next question which is, is this generalisable? Viruses spread by mosquitoes and there are many types of them, do they all exploit this mechanism?

Clive - Well we've looked at two very genetically distinct viruses. These are viruses that have nothing in common with each other, but what they do have in common is they're spread by the same mosquito. We showed that in this paper that this mechanism, this way by which the bite boosts the infection, does seem to be the same. And there's actually a paper out just this week from another group in America which is working on dengue, and they find something similar where mosquito saliva is boosting the dengue infection.

Chris - Is there any evidence that, in turn, the virus is manipulating the mosquito for instance, to make it's saliva more inflammatory so that the mosquito makes your bites itch more, so more immune cells are effectively coming and, therefore, you increase even further the likelihood you'll pick up that infection?

Clive - Well that sounds like an excellent question. I don't think there's any data out on that just yet. There is some data which shows that viruses do change what genes and proteins are made by the mosquito but we have yet to look whether that's actually directly related to how itchy or how inflamed a bit can get, but it's certainly a very good question.

Chris - Clive McKimmie, and that discovery was published in the journal Immunity.

Mosquito bites – more than just annoying

Mosquito bites cause an immune response that unwittingly enhances the establishment of mosquito-transmitted diseases.

Every year mosquito-transmitted viruses such as Dengue, Chikungunya and, most recently, Zika cause several hundred million infections. The unpredictable nature of these outbreaks, combined with the enormous genetic diversity of these viruses, makes it challenging to prepare vaccines or antivirals for current and future threats. Currently there are very few vaccines and no antiviral drugs available for treatment. Wouldn’t it be great to have a common strategy against many of these viruses?

One thing most of these viruses have in common is that they are transmitted by a limited number of Aedes mosquito species, especially Ae. albopictus and Ae. aegypti. These mosquitoes are rapidly increasing their territories due to climate change and globalisation, facilitating the large outbreaks of viruses such as chikungunya and Zika we’ve seen in the past decade.

It had been observed by several research groups that the presence of a mosquito bite, or even just saliva, increased viral dissemination and morbidity.

My colleagues and I at the University of Leeds have just published results of our investigation into the mechanism underlying this intriguing observation.

Our model system

To investigate the impact of mosquito bites, we allowed Ae. aegypti to bite a small piece of mouse skin. Bitten or resting skin was then injected with a very small volume of mosquito-cell derived Semliki Forest virus. This way, we mimic natural infection in a highly reproducible model.

How the immune system benefits the virus

We found that the rapid, local immune response to the mosquito bites is actually beneficial for the virus. An oedematous bump, well known to occur after a mosquito bite, retains virus in the skin. Here, a strong innate immune response is orchestrated to fix the damage caused by the mosquito bite. However, unwittingly this immune response also results in giving the virus an early and powerful advantage.

This boost in viral infection by mosquito bites is due to the recruitment of immune cells. The first round of recruited cells are the neutrophils. These highly mobile cells come in very early to initiate tissue repair and fight off infection. Neutrophils do not seem to become infected themselves, but do contribute to oedema which retains the virus in the skin.

The recruitment of a second wave of immune cells, the monocytes and macrophages then occurs. Macrophages gobble up anything possibly dangerous to initiate a suitable immune response. However, these macrophages become infected and produce large amounts of virus which contributes to the spread of virus around the body, including to the brain, where they cause disease in our mouse model.

How to prevent this

When we depleted neutrophils with an antibody, or prevented migration of macrophages into the bite site by using a knockout mouse with immobile macrophages, we blocked bite-enhancement.

We investigated whether bite-enhancement was a direct effect of the mosquito saliva by comparing its potency to various inflammatory drugs that recruit similar cell types via completely different mechanisms. This included a synthetic mimic of bacterial lipoprotein (PAM3CSK4) and the vaccine adjuvant alum. Interestingly, mosquito saliva enhanced viral infection in a manner similar to these tested compounds.

We thought this early and local immune response might give us a useful target for prevention of disease. Therefore, we tested this idea by targeting one of the components of this local immune response, the potent pro-inflammatory molecule IL-1ß, by pre-treating the mice with a blocker that prevents activation of IL-1ß.

We were able to reduce the bite enhancement effect and improve disease outcome by inhibiting the inflammatory response that occurs at the bite site.

A potential future clinical application of these findings

Our current research focuses on improving our understanding of early events in the bitten skin and what aspects of mosquito bites impact local inflammation. In addition, we are testing ways to modulate this early immune response to improve disease outcome.

As these viruses are mainly transmitted by the day-biting Ae. albopictus and Ae. aegypti, it is likely you would notice that you have been bitten within a few hours. This could provide a time window that is long enough to modulate the early immune response, for instance by applying a cream. Although it is best not to get bitten at all, we hope that applying anti-inflammatory cream onto mosquito bites could prevent bite-enhancement and thus reduce disease caused by many different viruses.

Why do mosquito bites itch? 7 ways to treat mosquito bites and stop the itching

Mosquito bites can be very annoying to those people living in more tropic climates which face the nuisance of the blood-sucking pests. What is even more annoying is the itch caused by mosquito bites. But why do mosquito bites and then swell up? This itching makes the discomfort last much longer.

Most people who suffer from mosquito bites often wonder how to prevent mosquito bites while sleeping, how to treat mosquito bites or how to stop mosquito bites from itching. We will discuss all of this in the article.

Why do mosquito bites itch?

Different people react to mosquito bites differently. When mosquitoes bite people, they draw out blood and also inject a little bit of their saliva into the body they are biding.

This mosquito saliva has anticoagulant properties which prevent the blood from clotting and allows the mosquito to freely draw it in.

The saliva also has proteins which are foreign to the body. So, the human immune system tries to fight it off by secreting histamine, which allows white blood cells to get to the area of the mosquito bite.

This histamine is what makes mosquito bites itch.

Others may become tolerant to mosquito bites over time.

Also, if you are wondering whether mosquito bites itch more after you scratch at them, you are right! Scratching inflames your skin, and an inflamed skin will scratch even more. So, stop scratching and soothe that mosquito bite!

Since mosquitoes can cause dengue and malaria, it is important to know how to prevent mosquito bites and how to treat mosquito bites to make them stop itching so you can go back to sleep.

7 ways to treat mosquito bites

1. Apply honey

Applying honey on the mosquito bite will reduce the swelling and the itch will go away. Honey is antiseptic and antibacterial and can heal other wounds too.

Honey is a great way to treat mosquito bites. However, do not use honey on your mosquito bite if you are outdoors as honey can attract mosquitoes because of its sugar content.

2. Apply aloe vera

If you have any aloe vera gel at home or even an aloe vera plant, use the gel on your mosquito bite to stop it from itching.

The cool feeling of aloe vera is a great way to treat mosquito bites as aloe vera has calming properties and is useful for toning down wound inflammations.

3. Rub tulsi or basil leaves

Basil leaves have a chemical that can bring relief to itchy skin. Tulsi plants or holy basil plants are available in many homes now you can chop fresh leaves and rub them on the mosquito bite.

To use this method to get rid of mosquito bite itching, you can turn the tulsi leaves or dried basil leaves from grocery stores into a lotion.

Boil two cups of water and around 15 grams of dried basil leaves. Dip a piece of cloth in the cool mixture and apply it on the mosquito bites for relief.

4. Press a cold tea bag

Green tea and black tea both have anti-swelling properties. If you use tea bags at home, take one after use and keep it in the fridge for a while.

Pressing the cold tea bag on your affected area can be a great way to treat mosquito bites at home.

5. Use diluted minced garlic

Yet another way to treat mosquito bites at home is to used minced garlic. Garlic has antiviral and wound-healing properties. But remember than raw garlic will only make the mosquito bite itch worse as it causes skin irritation!

If you want to use garlic to get rid of mosquito bite itching, mince a pod of garlic, and mix it with a few drops of coconut oil, and then apply it to the affected area.

6. Apply oatmeal

You can use this method to treat mosquito bites if you have oatmeal at home. Oatmeal can help sooth insect bites and allergic reactions, dry skin, and chicken pox.

You can grind a little bit of oatmeal into powder, add a few drops of water to make it into a paste, and even add some honey to it before putting it on the mosquito bite.

After 15 minutes, wash it off with warm water and moisturise the area with some cream.

7. Apply neem paste

Neem oil can keep mosquitoes at bay and if you are wondering how to get rid of mosquito bite itching neem can help with that as well.

Take a few neem leaves and grind them into a paste, and put that paste on the affected area. It will sooth your skin. Wash it off after a while.

These above ways will help you understand how to get rid of mosquito bite itching and how to treat mosquito bites successfully and naturally at home.

Some of the top mosquito attractors include sweat and body odour, heat, light, lactic acid and carbon dioxide. Understanding this may help you prevent mosquito bites.

Do remember not to use baking soda, lemon juice, toothpaste or vinegar to treat mosquito bites as they can cause other problems for your skin.

And do see a doctor if you show serious symptoms from mosquito bites such as breathing difficulties, breaking out in hives, high fever, swelling in joints, blisters or lesions etc. These are markers of anaphylactic shock and need urgent treatment immediately.