Lemongrass, clothes, sweet skin… How to deal with mosquito bites?

Here they are again. The incessant “bzz bzz” in the middle of the night that wake us from our sleep. With the hot weather, mosquitoes – probably the most hated animal in the world – are making a comeback. They itch us all summer long and leave little appreciable marks on our skin. But who are they? Are they really trying to eradicate the human species? And above all, how to deal with it? 20 Minutes tells you everything (careful, you have one on your forearm there).

Mosquito bites for dummies

If there’s one thing to remember about mosquitoes, it’s that they don’t bother us out of sheer meanness. If they come on our skin, it is for the sole purpose of nourishing themselves… thanks to our blood. This is called a hematophagous insect. “The bug will inject a product into our skin so that the blood is more liquid, so that it is easier to suck up,” explains Dr. Marc Perrussel. It is this injected product – a venom – which produces the skin reaction. “It’s a hives type reaction. The skin swells, and this causes itching,” adds the dermatologist.

Of course, the mosquito is not so tough in all areas. It’s where it’s warmest that you can most easily find it. Because like vacationers, mosquitoes love the sun. “The bites become infected much more easily in these places, because the sun has an immunosuppressive function which will reduce our defenses”, warns Dr. Marc Perrussel.

Moreover, with the effects of global warming, mosquitoes could appear much earlier in the year. Something to scare those who claim to “have sweet skin” and who will have to live with their enemies from the month of March. But according to the dermatologist, the idea that certain skins are prime targets is a myth. “It does not depend on the sweetness of the skin, but on the smell given off”, compares Marc Perrussel.

Be careful however, in more tropical places, the mosquito does not stop at the simple bite. It can carry certain viruses or parasites. “Their venom can then be a vector for the transmission of a certain number of diseases, more or less harmful”, warns the dermatologist.

The good reflex

There is no miracle cure to arm yourself against mosquitoes, “apart from covering yourself as much as possible”, recommends Doctor Marc Perrussel. The mosquito net therefore remains the best ally to protect yourself without having to sleep in a ski suit. There are still a few tricks to keep pests away. Lemongrass is, for example, an excellent repellent. But for fear of also scaring away humans, other plants are just as effective, such as geranium or eucalyptus.

Before spraying himself with all kinds of flowers, know that the mosquito likes to have lunch in peace, like Stephan Eicher. “If you’re in a restaurant, around a table with large tablecloths, it’s better not to put your legs under them. Under the table, it will be a refuge for the mosquito, because there will be no drafts and it will be able to devour you with great pleasure,” says the dermatologist. Also forget summer evenings on the balconies, as artificial lights attract many pests.

The false good idea

Slice of lemon, vinegar, grandmother’s recipes for treating bites are full of imagination. But are they really effective? Yes, they can help, says Dr. Marc Perrussel. “They have in common to have a decongestant effect, which reduces the consequences of edema,” explains the dermatologist. But according to the latter, the best remedy remains antihistamines. “They will allow you to avoid itching”, quotes the doctor who also advises to disinfect the area concerned “to avoid superinfection”.

If it is not advisable to scratch after a bite, Marc Perrussel insists on what he calls “a spontaneous reflex”. “It’s normal with itching. You just have to find a way to stop scratching,” he recommends.

It happened to them

During a stay with friends in Corsica, Margot had the unpleasant surprise of being bitten by a mosquito… except that the young holidaymaker is allergic. It was not his first reaction, and certainly not the last. “It doesn’t happen to me with every bite, fortunately, it must depend on the type of mosquito,” she imagines. But the feeling is not pleasant. “My skin tightens and I feel that it swells enormously. Then it spreads, the area becomes wider and I feel that it is heating up, ”recalls the vacationer.

For the toughest bites, Margot even has to take cortisone. However, this treatment is by prescription. And that bites cannot always be anticipated.

Source: 20Minutes – Une by www.20minutes.fr.

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