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    Mosquito Bites

    A mild allergic reaction to a mosquito’s saliva causes a small itchy welt that usually gets better within a few hours. But if you are highly sensitive, symptoms can last for several days. The small welt can develop into an itchy sore the size of a quarter.

    It’s tough advice, but the best thing you can do is not scratch the bite. Scratching can create an opening in your skin that can allow bacteria in and cause infection.

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    To relieve itch and reduce risk of infection:

    • Wash the area with soap and water.
    • Apply calamine lotion or anti-itch cream.
    • Put an ice pack on the bite.
    • Take an over-the-counter antihistamine.

    If a bite causes fever, vomiting, or shortness of breath, call 911 or get to an emergency room immediately.

    To prevent future bites:

    • Stay indoors at dawn and dusk and in the early evening.
    • Wear long pants and long sleeves when you go outdoors.
    • Apply bug spray with DEET or picaridin to all exposed skin.
    • Get rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed.
    • Use screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitos out.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on October 16, 2014

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