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They are a common summer nuisance. Mosquitoes are pesky parasites leaving bite marks that can be unbearable to itch. So what's the best way to stop yourself from scratching?
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (0:57) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please courtesy: "Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.
There are millions of mosquitoes swarming this summer, sucking blood and leaving itchy, red bumps on the skin.
"Their saliva deposits in the skin from where the bite is, and it's causing a reaction to that saliva," says Dr. Summer Allen, a Mayo Clinic family physician.
Dr. Allen says some of the tried-and-true home remedies for treating mosquito bites work well. Calamine lotion, over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream and even a cold compress can ease the itch.
"It's going to sooth and kind of calm down that intense burning and inflammation that they're feeling in their skin," says Dr. Allen.
And, while it's not always easy, it's important to keep the itching to a minimum.
"If they scratch it hard enough, or depending on what they use to scratch their skin, they can cause a break in their skin," says Dr. Allen. "They can develop a bacterial infection."
Although using insect repellent and other prevention tips can reduce your chances of being bit, really, getting at least one skeeter bite this summer is almost inevitable.
"Time takes care of it, and try to do your best not to scratch it if you can," says Dr. Allen.
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