Why Does a Bug Bite Itch? why do bug bites itch?
Why Does a Bug Bite Itch?
Have you ever been bitten by an insect, only to find the area around the bite becoming itchy, red and inflamed? If you answered yes, then you know all too well the itchiness of a bug bite! But why do bug bites actually itch?
The Science Behind Bug Bites
The answer lies in science! When a bug bites, it will inject saliva that contains tissue-damaging enzymes, which the body perceives as a foreign substance. This triggers an immune response to fight off the saliva—which results in itchiness, swelling and redness.
The Itch That Keeps On Itching
The itchiness can be particularly bothersome, often feeling like it is intensifying after you stop scratching it. This is because the itch response can linger for up to a week. The more you scratch, the more irritation the skin will experience and the more the itch-scratch cycle continues.
Ways to Reduce Itchiness
The first step to reducing the itchy sensation is to ensure that the area is clean. Then, you can reduce the itch by following these steps:
- Avoid Scratching. This can make the situation worse, as scratching can irritate the skin and delay healing.
- Calamine Lotion. This can be applied to the area to reduce itchiness.
- Apply a Cold Compress. Wrapping the area with a cold compress can act as a temporary measure to relieve the itch.
- Take an Antihistamine. This can reduce the inflammatory response and, in turn, lessen the itchiness.
Preventing Bug Bites
Unfortunately, sometimes bug bites can be unavoidable. To best avoid bug bites, here are a few strategies:
- Know Your Surroundings. Be aware of your environment and the presence of insects, especially if you are outdoors.
- Cover Your Skin. Wear long-sleeve clothing, particularly in areas with a large number of insects.
- Use Insect Repellent. Look for insect repellents that contain DEET and apply according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
By understanding why bug bites itch, understanding how to reduce itchiness, and using preventative measures, you can keep your bug bite discomfort to a minimum!