Why do bug bites itch

Not all bugs bite, but some do and all of the bites result in itchiness. Whether the effect of a bug’s bite will be limited to itching only, or whether it will become more serious is totally dependent on the particular bug that has bitten you. A mosquito bite will only cause temporary swelling and itching, while the bite from a Redback spider may lead to death, if left untreated. Of course a mosquito bite can cause serious illnesses like malaria or dengue through the virus that it might be carrying, but it is an indirect effect and not a toxic result.

Let us discuss the most common bug that bites us most often first. A mosquito uses its proboscis to draw blood from humans and other animals, but in order to stop the small puncture from closing due to coagulation, it uses it s saliva. The saliva is thus left just under the skin on the area that the mosquito punctured. After a while, the saliva causes the skin to be irritated and the irritation causes a temporary allergic or histamine reaction. As in most other allergic reactions, the swelling and the itching follows for a short while.

A bee or a fire-ant will not sting or bite you to drink your blood; it is rather a reaction as the insect feels threatened somehow. These kind of insects usually inject a toxin in you, therefore the reaction is often more painful and severe than bites from insects that drink your blood. In case of blood drinkers, the bite or sting usually does not contain venom, but some sort of anti-coagulant with anesthetic properties. Therefore, the bite may exhibit temporary swelling and itching due to a sort of allergic reaction to the chemical left behind, but nothing serious or long term.

A bite from a non-lethal bug can be treated with topical steroid creams and calamine lotion. The cream or the lotion is to be applied on the bitten area until the symptoms subside, but if the pain is very discomforting, the person can also ingest anti-histamine to speed up the recovery. Note that even bites from non-lethal insects like bees or fire-ants can turn deadly if the person is allergic to the insect’s venom. In that case, medical attention is required as soon as possible.