What Strikes My Fancy

Don’t Scratch That Itch

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This in from the Washington Post — Why mosquito bites itch, and why your mother was right when she told you not to scratch them (but probably for the wrong reasons)

“Mosquitoes don’t just suck your blood (which the females need for reproductive purposes); they also deposit a protein that keeps it from coagulating as they drink. As in many allergic reactions, your body responds by releasing histamines to try to fight off the foreign matter. It’s the histamines that make the bite site swell into a hard red bump and itch. (That bump’s called a wheal, by the way.) When you scratch, says Nathaniel Beers, medical director of the children’s health center at Children’s Hospital in the District, you start a vicious cycle: Scratching releases more histamines, which make the itching worse.” more>>

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