It's the height of summer, and naturally we're going on hikes, camping trips and hanging out in our backyards. And the mosquitoes are loving it.
On warm weather days around dusk and dawn, mosquitoes come out to play and bite unsuspecting humans everywhere (some people are actually genetically predisposed to attract mosquitos, according to one study).
According to Jonathan F. Day, a professor of entomology at the University of Florida, mosquito bites happen when a female mosquito probes the skin with her mouth and finds a capillary bed -- meaning a network of capillaries that supply blood flow to veins and arteries -- close to the skin's surface.
"As part of this probing process, the mosquito releases saliva under the host’s skin at the site of each probe," Day explained. "The saliva contains proteins, which the host’s immune system sees as foreign substances."
This causes an immediate immune response at the site of the bite and that's how you end up with a hot, itchy raised welt.
Although most mosquito bites just lead to a bump and few itchy days, mosquitos can cause severe allergic reactions and even carry disease. And how do you know if your mosquito bite is something more? We've got you covered: