How Long Do Mosquito Bites Itch For?

  • Written By Dan Edwards on September 8, 2018
    Last Updated: December 10, 2020

Mosquitoes are real pests that depend on blood to feed on. Mosquitoes bite humans and other animals to feed on blood. When a mosquito bites us, it can leave an incredibly itchy and irritated welt on the skin. How long mosquito bites will itch for is on the mind of every fresh victim.

Some people are more sensitive to mosquito bites than others. Not everyone experiences such an irritating, itchy welt. For those of you that do suffer from itchy and inflamed mosquito bites, you’ll be happy to know that the irritation will not last too long. Read on to find out how long your bite is likely to be itchy.

Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?

The reason that a mosquito bite causes an itchy irritation on our skin is due to a mild allergic reaction occurring. It all begins with the process of the mosquito bite itself. Let’s take a closer look at what happens when a mosquito bites us, to help explain why their bites are so itchy.

When a female mosquito lands on our skin to feed, she uses a straw-like body part near her mouth, to pierce our skin. This body part is called a proboscis, and it works like a miniature tool kit, to saw through our skin and find a blood source. Once the mosquito successfully reaches our bloodstream, she’s nearly ready to start feeding.

Just before she sucks the blood up, she injects a small amount of her saliva. Within her saliva are proteins and anticoagulants. The anticoagulants help to prevent the blood from clotting, allowing the mosquito to easily feed.

The proteins that are present in the saliva are foreign substances to our bodies. As a foreign substance is introduced into the bloodstream, our immune systems start working immediately on the defense. In order to fight the foreign substance, the immune system releases histamine.

Histamine is a compound that can help the body send white blood cells to the infected area. It’s the histamine that causes the familiar itching sensation we experience after being bitten by a mosquito, not the bite itself.

Not everyone will experience itching, swelling, or inflammation from the release of histamine. Some who have been bitten for the first time may not have a reaction at all, as their body hasn’t yet developed a response to the foreign substance.

Others may also build up more tolerance to histamine over time, and may experience a reduced amount of itching and irritation.

How Long Do Mosquito Bites Usually Itch For?

Once you’ve been bitten by a mosquito, the itchy sensation can be very frustrating. The irritation can feel relentless, leaving you wondering when it’ll stop. Thankfully, mosquito bites reduce in inflammation and itchiness as they heal. However, there is no unanimous set time for how long this sensation will last.

As the itching is caused by a reaction in your immune system, the irritation will only fully clear up after the bite has healed. Studies have shown that your immune system could be reacting to the mosquito saliva for up to a week. Some may also suffer for longer, if they experience a more severe allergic reaction to the histamine.

The length of time a bite itches for depends on a number of different factors. One of these factors includes the body’s individual reaction to the release of histamine. Some people are more sensitive than others to this chemical. While some may experience itching for up ten days, others may only have irritation for a few hours.

How you treat the bite can also affect the length of time you experience irritation. While you may have the urge to scratch the bite, itching can damage the epidermis and cause further irritation. The location of a mosquito bite can also determine how long it will itch.

Mosquito bites on ankle

Bites on the body’s extremities tend to itch for longer than bites on the thighs or upper arms, for example. If you have been bitten on your hands or feet, then prepare for a longer period or irritation. The best thing to do in order to try and reduce the amount of time the bite itches for, is to treat the bite effectively.

How to Relieve Mosquito Bite Itching

Mosquito bite irritation can leave you frustrated, especially if you feel like you cannot get any relief. There are a number of things you can do to try and reduce the itching sensation caused by mosquito bites. If one doesn’t work, try another until you experience some relief.

Rubbing Alcohol

Applying rubbing alcohol directly to the bite can offer a cooling and calming sensation. This is particularly more effective if applied soon after you’ve been bitten. However, do not apply too much alcohol, as large amounts may irritate the skin further.


Honey contains natural antibacterial and antiseptic ingredients. It works well to help heal wounds, which makes it a great choice to apply to an itchy mosquito bite. Placing a small amount of honey on the bite can help to reduce inflammation.

However, you should not apply honey to your skin while outdoors, as the sugar within the honey may attract more mosquitoes.


Oatmeal contains various properties that can soothe allergic reactions and insect bites. An effective way to experience the benefits of oatmeal is to add it to a bath of warm water and soak in it.

Alternatively, you could make a paste by using water and colloidal oatmeal, then apply it directly to any itchy bites. If using the oatmeal as a paste or mask, wash it off after fifteen minutes.


Both black and green tea contain properties that can reduce swelling and inflammation. The best way to use tea to soothe a mosquito bite, is to first soak a tea bag in water. Once soaked, place it into the fridge for at least 20 minutes, or until it’s nice and cool.

Place the cold, wet tea bag directly onto the irritated bite to help relieve inflammation and itchiness.


If you find that natural methods aren’t providing sufficient relief, you can try an over the counter antihistamine. As the release of histamine is what causes the irritation in the first place, an antihistamine helps to reduce the amount of histamine in your body. As the level of histamine is reduced, the inflammation and irritation should also subside.

Always read the dosage instructions of antihistamines carefully, as some can cause drowsiness.

By applying one, some, or all of these methods to relieve the itch, you’ll be well prepared for however long that mosquito bite itches for.