Female mosquitoes have piercing mouthparts through which they extract the blood of a host. The protein from gathered blood is used in egg production. Male mosquitoes do not extract blood from a host.
While not particularly painful, the bite of a mosquito can create physiological responses in humans. When a mosquito inserts her proboscis through the skin, her saliva creates a small, red bump. These bumps produce mild to severe itching in many people. Some people may become less sensitive to mosquito saliva through repeated exposure, while others may develop allergic reactions. Symptoms of an allergy include blistering and inflammation, as well as asthmalike reactions. Mosquitoes also carry diseases such as yellow and dengue fevers, malaria and encephalitis and are capable of passing them from host to host.
The use of insect repellents is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Repellents should not come into contact with the eyes and mouth, and special care should be taken when applying repellent to small children.
After receiving a mosquito bite, a cold compress can be applied to the affected area in order to reduce swelling. Mild antihistamines and anti-itching compounds relieve itching. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can also be used. A paste made from baking soda and water may prove effective, as will calamine lotion.
Contact your physician before taking any new medications. If you experience more severe symptoms following a mosquito bite, contact a medical professional immediately.