Mosquito Bites: Prevention and Treatment

Mosquito bites are typically recognized by the following symptoms: itchy bump on the skin, redness, and soreness. These symptoms can stay around for forty-eight hours after the bite and are caused by the body’s immune response. Serious consequences such as fever or hospitalization are rare and mostly due to viruses that mosquitoes may carry (i.e. West Nile and Zika viruses).

The best prevention against mosquito bites is to wear proper insect repellent containing the recommended active ingredients DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. To treat existing bites, over the counter (OTC) creams such as hydrocortisone or calamine lotion may be applied to reduce the itching. Oral medications classified as antihistamines such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) or Claritin (loratadine) may also be helpful.

Drowsiness is a common side effect of certain antihistamines.