How many mosquito bites do you have

Beware of infected mosquito bites

Status: 07/15/2019 4:45 p.m.
Mosquito bites are not always harmless: inflammation and even blood poisoning can result.

Mosquitoes often come in the evening, are quick and sting immediately. But the bites are not always harmless: infected mosquito bites are being treated more and more frequently in hospitals. In some cases blood poisoning (sepsis) occurs, sometimes even loss of the stung body part. If the mosquito bite is bacterially infected, intravenous antibiotic therapy is usually required.

More than 50 species of mosquito in Germany

There are more than 50 different types of mosquito in Germany, some exotic ones such as the Asian bush mosquito. They inject completely different amounts of poison than the domestic black flies, midges or house mosquitoes. Environmental toxins that mosquitoes ingest can also play a role. And the increased occurrence of exotic mosquito species can also bring in diseases such as West Nile fever.

Wheals and itching are normal reactions to mosquito bites

Mosquito bites are generally classified as harmless in Germany. Nevertheless, they are extremely annoying because they cause severe itching. With the bite of the mosquito, a locally anesthetic and anti-coagulant secretion gets into the wound. This releases the messenger substance histamine, which is responsible for the formation of wheals and the annoying itching.

Inflammation from infection with bacteria

As soon as the mosquito bites, it pumps proteins into the wound so that it stays open. Some people react to this with violent rashes. Bacteria can also hang on the mosquito bite and enter the body when it bites. For example, mosquitoes can transmit faecal bacteria such as streptococci or coli bacteria if they were previously sitting on a cow dung, for example.

Lymphedema or blood poisoning caused by germs

It becomes particularly dangerous if the person concerned cannot stand the itching and scratches the bite. It is not uncommon for this to result in a dangerous mixed infection with skin bacteria that would otherwise never have entered the body. For example, when streptococci get into the human body, they multiply in the lymphatic system and can then cause what is known as lymphedema. If the germs get into the bloodstream, there is a risk of blood poisoning. If it is not recognized and treated in time, it can be associated with serious complications and even lead to death.

Protection against infection: mosquito bites cool instead of scratching

Mosquito bites should never be scratched because of the risk of infection. Cooling can help against itching, for example with cold, damp cloths, cool packs or gels. The heat of a battery-operated mosquito pen can also relieve itching: The pen heats the tissue for a few seconds, so that the proteins of the poison break down and the itching is stopped. If a mosquito bite becomes hot, throbbing or discolored, you should be examined and treated immediately in the hospital.

Synthetic mosquito repellants are the best protection

Protection against annoying and potentially dangerous mosquito bites is provided by long-sleeved clothing, insect screens, impregnated mosquito nets and mosquito repellants that can be applied to the skin. These agents ensure that mosquitoes no longer perceive the smell of humans. The natural variant consists of essential oils from cloves, mint plants, sweet grass, myrtle family or cedar. The disadvantage of these agents is their very short duration of action (less than an hour) and a high allergic potential. Therefore, it is preferable to use synthetic products that offer a significantly longer duration of action and better protection.

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Visit | 06/19/2018 | 8:15 pm