How Long Do Mosquito Bites Last?

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If you’ve recently been targeted by mosquitos and are suffering through the misery of mosquito bites, it’s only natural that you might wonder how long do mosquito bites last and when do mosquito bites go away. Unfortunately, the answer is not as simple as we’d like it to be. 

Mosquitos live nearly everywhere, too – from very cold countries to very hot ones and everything in between. So it’s really not possible to move away from them either! 

Different people will have different reactions to mosquito bites, so let’s look at some of the various answers to the question of how long does it take mosquito bites to go away. 

Normal Reactions to Familiar Mosquito Types

If you’ve been bitten by a type of mosquito that you are used to, and you have a normal reaction to the bite, you can expect to have the symptoms of the bite for a day or two. It’ll be a little itchy and might be a little raised, but it will be manageable and will resolve on its own. 

In this case, a mosquito bite is an annoyance but really nothing to worry about. 

Extreme Reaction to Familiar Mosquito Types

Unfortunately, not everyone has what could be considered a normal reaction to mosquitos, even when they are used to that type of mosquito. Some people have a much more severe reaction that is sometimes called “skeeter syndrome.” 

This is more like an intense allergic reaction and can include a lot of swelling and hives. In some very extreme cases, people can have an anaphylactic reaction to mosquito bites, in which case they will need emergency medical attention, as this can be fatal. 

Reaction to Unfamiliar Mosquito Types

If you thought you were lucky and you have a very mild response to mosquito bites, you might be in for a surprise if you move or visit another place. 

That’s because different types of mosquitoes can inject various types of substances into your skin when they bite you, and that can cause a severe reaction – even in people who normally have a mild response. 

When it comes to the question of how long do mosquito bites last in this case, the answer is that it varies, but it could be anything from a day or two to much longer. 

Infection In Mosquito Bites

Sometimes, the question of how long do mosquito bites last is not so much about the bite itself but rather because of how you react to them. 

If you scratch mosquito bites with dirty fingernails, you can introduce bacteria into the bite. This can cause an infection, which means that you could still have another wound to deal with even after the bite heals. 

Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch Anyway?

Another question you might naturally ask when you are trying to figure out how long does it take for mosquito bites to go away is why they itch anyway?

If mosquitos just bit you and took a little blood, you wouldn’t even realize you’d been bitten if you didn't catch any mosquito-spread diseases. 

The problem is that they don’t just bite you. 

First, they use a naturally produced numbing agent to anesthetize your skin so you don’t feel the bite while they’re on you. 

Next, they use their proboscis to inject a mixture of proteins and anticoagulants into your blood. This thins your blood and prevents clotting so that they can suck it through their proboscis easily. 

When they’re done, they fly away, and it might be a while before you even realize you’ve been bitten because of the numbing agent. 

Once your body realizes that there’s something different in your blood, it activates the immune system, which releases histamines (the same thing that causes allergic reactions) to assist immune cells, and that causes the itchy, frustrating, annoying sensation of a mosquito bite. 

What Can You Do to Treat Mosquito Bites?

In most cases, you don't need to do anything to treat a mosquito bite. Most people who have a normal reaction to mosquito bites will find that they disappear on their own in a day or two. 

However, some people, including children, the elderly, and immune-compromised people, may have a more extreme reaction to a mosquito bite.

You can use various treatments to lower the amount of time you have to deal with a mosquito bite. These include:

  • Over the counter after bite lotions and creams that often contain low levels of cortisone and combat the effects of histamines on mosquito bites
  • Over-the-counter oral antihistamines can also help for people who experience mild to moderate allergy like itching
  • There are home remedies like cooled damp tea bags, basil oil, and crushed garlic that have all been used with varying degrees of success to treat mosquito bites
  • If you have a more severe reaction to a mosquito bite but are not in a state of anaphylaxis, a visit to the doctor will probably result in a prescription antihistamine
  • If you experience difficulty breathing or other signs of anaphylaxis, you will need to go to an emergency room immediately
  • finally, if you have scratched your mosquito bites and caused an infection, you may need to use topical antiseptics or prescription antibiotics to treat the infection

. Most people will not need any medications or intervention to deal with a mosquito bite. However, it's always a good idea to err on the side of caution. So, if you have any concerns at all about your mosquito bites, come and speak to a doctor or even a pharmacist.

Should I Cover Mosquito Bites?

It's not usually necessary to cover mosquito bites to help them heal. However, if you or your child happens to scratch mosquito bites while you're sleeping, you can create a wound or even give yourself an infection.

This is why some people do choose to cover mosquito bites with a band-aid, with or without a topical antiseptic. The antiseptic itself won't cure the mosquito bite, but it will prevent infections.

If you have a very young child that has a mosquito bite (or several), another option is to have them sleep with gloves on their hands. This can help to prevent them from scratching while they're sleeping. Usually, by the time morning comes, they will feel much better.

Why Do I Get Bitten When Others Don’t?

Sometimes people find that while mosquitoes love to bite them, they might leave other members of their family alone. While this sometimes means that their family members don't get bitten at all, very often, it simply means that they don't have the same reaction you do.

Mosquitoes hunt their prey by smell, so there's some evidence, but they might choose people who smell a certain way. This is also true for animals, and some mosquito species prefer one type of animal to another.

You could say that if you get bitten a lot more than the rest of the people in your family, you're just the lucky one that smells good to mosquitoes.

When Are Mosquito Bites More Serious?

In the United States, we are fortunate that most of the mosquitoes we encounter don't carry any serious diseases. However, that's not the case everywhere.

Many parts of the world have severe and potentially deadly mosquito-borne diseases. Mosquitoes are the deadliest animal in the world.

If you are travelling outside of the United States, there is a chance that you will encounter one of the following diseases:

  • malaria
  • Zika virus
  • West Nile virus

All of these diseases can be serious and even life-threatening. This is why it’s recommended to speak to your doctor about prophylactic medication and preventative measures if you are going to visit any areas that have these diseases.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

When it comes to mosquito bites, instead of asking how long it takes mosquito bites to go away, the better question is how to avoid being bitten. 

While it's not always possible to avoid mosquitoes altogether, there are several things you can do to avoid being bitten.

First, if you live in an area that has a large mosquito population, make sure that your windows screens and screen doors are in good repair and closed at all times. This will prevent mosquitoes from entering your home, which makes it less likely that you will be bitten while you sleep.

Next, invest in a high-quality mosquito repellent. There are some natural versions on the market, but they're not as potent as some commercial options. If you are more worried about the effects of insecticides, and there are no severe mosquito-borne diseases in your area, you can still try the natural options. Be sure to apply any repellent you use liberally before you leave the house.

Avoid areas where there is a lot of standing water. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, and many will not fly further than one or two miles from where they hatch. So, if you avoid those areas, you can avoid much of the mosquito population.

Find out if your city or town has a mosquito spraying program. Often, cities that struggle with mosquitoes in the summertime will spray in the spring to avoid mosquito overpopulation. If you know that there is a mosquito breeding ground near your home, you can ask that they be included in their spraying operations.

Finally, make sure that you are covered up as possible whenever you might come into contact with the mosquito. This could mean wearing long pants and long sleeves when you're out on a hike or using mosquito Nets and similar devices when you're sleeping.

What Keeps Mosquitos Away?

Many devices on the market claim to keep mosquitoes away from your home. Some, like bug zappers, have some success in getting rid of insects like mosquitoes; others, like citronella candles, produce a scent that mosquitoes don't like, and there are even ultrasonic devices that claim to repel mosquitoes and other pests.

Mosquitoes are one of the weakest flyers in the insect world. So often, all it takes to keep them away from you is to have moving air while you sleep or spend time outdoors. Often all it takes is a fan on a medium setting to relax and enjoy some mosquito-free downtime. 

Many of the options on the market are less successful than they might claim. So, while you can certainly try them to reduce the number of mosquitoes you deal with, it's best to use a good repellent and cover-up as well.

If you like to spend time out of doors in the summertime, a screened-in porch or gazebo with screens is an excellent way to enjoy bug-free outdoor time.

How Can I Get Rid of Mosquitos?

If your home has a lot of mosquitoes during the summer, there's a good chance that there's a reasonably large amount of standing water nearby. Since mosquitoes breed in standing water, it's fair to assume that they're breeding near to your home, so your first course of action should be to find and eliminate their breeding ground.

Another option you could pursue is connecting with a professional pest control specialist. They will have access to products and equipment that you might not be able to get as a consumer and can use the same to reduce the number of mosquitoes you have to deal with. 

As you can see, rather than asking how long mosquito bites last, you should ask how to keep mosquitoes away from you. in this case, prevention is better than cure. While you might be able to find out when do mosquito bites go away, you'll still have to deal with the itching and misery while you wait. 

If you are one of the few people who do have a severe reaction to mosquitoes, it's even more critical that you speak to your doctor about effective methods of avoiding being bitten. In this case, it's really not about how long it takes mosquito bites to go away but how to protect yourself from potentially severe reactions.

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