a mosquito on somone's skin, dengue fever, Zika virus, keep mosquitoes from biting

Q. I must be especially tasty to mosquitos, since they attack me and leave other folks alone. I have read in your column about hot water to stop itching. I’ve got a different solution: warm a spoon in hot water and then put the back of the spoon on the bite. That stops the itch for several hours.

A. We have seen this suggestion on the Internet. It often includes the explanation that the heat denatures the protein that causes itching when mosquitos inject it under the skin.

We suspect that the actual mechanism has more to do with the temporary effect of heat on nerve endings. Years ago, we read about using heat (in the form of hot tap water) to relieve itching in the medical textbook,  Dermatology: Diagnosis and Treatment (1961). The itch sensation can be overwhelmed for several hours with this approach.

Take care not to cause a burn, which would be worse than the mosquito bite.

Some readers have also reported temporary relief by applying household products that contain herbal compounds, especially Listerine or Vicks VapoRub, to the itchy bite. If you have a remedy you find especially helpful, tell us about it in the comment section below.

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  1. Nancy
    CA
    Reply

    I just tried this method this morning. Applied the hot spoon several times to an angry looking mosquito bite. Darn if that didn’t stop the itching almost immediately! Also, the welt is gone. I still have a red spot, but the swelling is completely gone, and it has been several hours. One thing I did read about this method is that it should be used as soon as possible after being bitten. I believe I was bitten early this morning and had the hot spoon on it within minutes of noticing it. I will definitely be testing this method again!

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