Is scratching mosquito bites bad?

A bastard mosquito bit my foot four times, turning it into an itchy mess. They tell me not to scratch, but it feels soooooo good. If you’re careful not to scratch too hard, and not directly on the bite, is there any harm?

Do mosquitoes mate for life? Wasn’t sure if their offspring’s legitimacy was a factor. :wink:

The reason they tell you not to scratch is that even performing what you may think is only mild rubbing, when repeated over the course of a couple of days, will eventually break the skin, and then you have an “owie” which will take twice as long to heal as the mosquito bite wheal would have taken to subside.

Also, can’t find a cite for this, but empirical observation teaches that scratching a mosquito bite makes the wheal bigger, and makes the bite take longer to go away. My theory has always been that scratching or rubbing pushes the mosquito’s saliva further into the surrounding tissues, where it can affect a bigger area.

What **duck duck ** said.

Get some local anesthetic, a spray or cream. If you don’t have that alcohol will help a bit. Scratching just leads to more problems. With this bird fever around you should be avoiding
misquitio bites, using a Deet repellant if you are going to be exposed.

Get some anti-itch lotion; they’re now making a clear version of calamine lotion that works quite well.

I leave them alone for 20 minutes (I timed it) and they go away.
When I was a kid, I scratched them until they bled and they would quit itching. :slight_smile:

What duck duck said, with the further scare story of a friend who needed intravenous antibiotics and a three day hospital stay after the ant bite on her ankle got infected with staph from her skin. *Any *broken skin invites infection, so the less broken skin you have, the better. Plus, as **carnivorousplant **says, scratching very often makes the itching worse (atopic dermetitis, or eczema, for example, is often called “the scratch that itches” because the more you scratch, the worse the itching gets) and if you spread the mosquito spit around by scratching, you’ll have a worse itch to deal with.

And I am now chasing phantom itches all over my body. Thanks. :stuck_out_tongue:

En contre, however one spells it I related that when I was a child, scratching them until they bled made them quit itching. Perhaps I removed the flesh that had mosquito saliva or whatever they inject in it from the area.
I survived some remarkable things in childhood, and consider insect bites to be run of the mill.

Forget the alcohol. Use ammonia. Most anti-itching compositions meant for treating anaphylactic reactions work by using ammonia to prevent the body’s histamine reaction to the bite. The alcohol will help curb infection if you can’t stop from scratching it bloody, but an ammonia composition will curb the impulse to scratch it in the first place. You can use both, of course, but alcohol won’t help to stop the urge to scratch quite as much. To answer the original question, yes, scratching is bad because it spreads the allergens in the mosquito saliva around underneath the skin.

I also once read of an interesting technique: firmly applying a piece of scotch tape to the bite (after applying ammonia and/or alcohol) and keeping it there for a few hours. Supposedly, it prevents the skin from swelling up and upon removal, will also apparently extract some of the fluids which collect under the skin after the mosquito’s natural anti-coagulates have dissipated. I suppose it works something like a Biore pore pad. Sounds a little farfetched unless you have a really severe bite, but I dunno … I never tried it, so I can’t testify to its effectiveness. It does sound as interesting as it is revolting, though.

I was about to come here and suggest the tape. It really does help, although I suppose it might just keep you from scratching it and thus making it itch more.

It wasn’t a bastard that bit you, but a bitch. Only females bite.

Well, taken internally in sufficient quantities it may supply some relief :).

When I was about seven, I scratched several mosquito bites which then got infected. They looked disgusting, no one would play with me, and I still have several little scars on my arm more than 35 years later.

If you are out of alcohol, run some hot water on them for a few seconds hot as you can stand, but be careful, of course. I forget why this works, but it does. Something about histimine release, I think.

Many treatments, and some work better than others. When the skeeter bites (they are all named silly names like Ophelia Pierce,) the first thing the nasty dame does is spit in you! The spit numbs the wound until she’s gone, but you’re allergic to it. Nearly everybody is. So, your histamine is triggered, and you swell up and itch down to a molecular level. Aaaaaugh.

If you can get to it right away, some 1% hydrocortisone goop will stave off the effects. Even later, it works pretty well. You can find it in the hemorrhoid section :eek: in the drugstore.

The reason scratching works is that it overloads the local nerves, just like a TENS device can do for a backache.There are safer ways to do it. cher3’s hot water works, so does ice. You can spank the bite with a chopstick or a clean flyswatter. Some folks press a thumbnail into the wound twice, to make a + mark. Somebody even sells a plastic +, if you don’t have thumbnails.

If you whack your elbow with a ball peen hammer, it will take your mind off the bite, but then you’ll have a new problem. To paraphrase Lewis Carroll, there’s nothing like eating hay for a mosquito bite. It won’t help, but there’s nothing like it.

Is scratching bad? Of course it is; you turn a bump into an open wound, which you keep touching with your grubby hands until you’re ripe for an infection.

Say what? :confused:

Feel pierce?

If I can’t get hot water easily on the bite hitting it with a blow dryer does the same thing for me.

Absolutely!!! It works for any rash, too.

I challenge dopers to try it and report back.

And the upside (I posted about this once) is that it feels like an orgasm :slight_smile:

Where are those damn mosquitoes when you want one? :slight_smile: