It’s been raining a lot here – and standing water will likely lead to the first mosquitoes of the season any minute now. I hate mosquito bites because I have pretty severe reactions to them – swelling and itching for DAYS! I’m always looking for ways to avoid or cut down on the pain of mosquito bites so here are some of the fun facts I’ve learned along the way:
- When a mosquito bites you, your body recognizes that saliva as foreign and responds by sending histamine to the site. Histamine increases blood flow and brings more white blood cells to the area which causes the swelling and inflammation. The histamine also aggravates the nerves in the area resulting in itching.
- Some lucky people never have reactions to the bites. And other people develop a tolerance lessening the reaction over time. But most of us will be annoyed by mosquitoes our entire lives. Yay right?
- There are a LOT of ways to treat mosquito bites – some better than others. If you don’t like using corticosteroid creams like I do, check out these natural treatments.
- The CDC reports that insect borne illnesses like West Nile virus and the Zika virus have risen dramatically over the past few years due to climate change and expanding global travel/trade. Warmer/shorter winters have resulted in better breeding conditions for mosquitoes so it’s up to us to be prepared by using bug repellents or changing our own behaviors.
If you want to minimize the mosquitoes in your backyard, I’ve used this homemade spray for the last couple of years with amazing results:
Mix together 1/3 of a big bottle of cheap blue minty mouthwash, 1 cup of Epsom salts and a 12 oz bottle/can of stale beer until the Epsom salts are dissolved. Put in a spray bottle and spray anywhere you sit outside. It doesn’t harm your plants and hasn’t hurt either the paint on my deck or my furniture but it keeps the bugs away for at least a month before I spray again.
Give it a try – you don’t want West Nile virus or Zika!