A mosquito (say: mus-KEE-toe) is an insect that is found all over the world. There are thousands of different kinds of mosquitoes in many different sizes and colors.
The female mosquito needs blood from vertebrates (animals that have a spine) to lay eggs and produce more mosquitoes. She has a special part of her mouth that she uses to suck blood, and her saliva (spit) thins the blood so she can drink it. In fact, it's the mosquito's saliva that makes the bites itch!
A person who gets bitten by a mosquito will notice a round pink or red bump that itches a lot.
If you think you've been bitten by a mosquito, wash the bite with soap and water. Put on some calamine lotion to help stop the itching, or an adult can find an anti-itch cream at the drugstore for you. Placing an ice pack on the bite may also help. Tell an adult you've been bitten by a mosquito, especially if you live in the eastern United States.
It's very unusual for someone to have an allergic reaction to a mosquito bite. But if you develop an allergic reaction and feel dizzy or sick, tell an adult immediately. A doctor can treat allergic reactions with medicines.
The best way to avoid mosquito bites is to wear an insect repellent. Repellents that include one of these ingredients are best: 10% to 30% DEET, lemon eucalyptus, or picaridin. Ask a parent to help you apply them.
Since mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, it's also a good idea to empty out buckets, flower pots, toys, and other things in your yard that may have collected water during a rainstorm. And when it's possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: April 2013
|BrainPop This is a great site for kids with informational movies about science, anatomy, weather, and more.|
|National Park Service This site contains information on America's national parks and the many ways you can enjoy the great outdoors.|
|Rashes: The Itchy Truth Learn about rashes in a flash. Check out our article just for kids!|
|Hey! A Louse Bit Me! Lice need to suck blood to survive, and they sometimes live on people's heads and lay eggs in their hair. Get the lowdown on lice in this article.|
|Hey! A Flea Bit Me! A flea is a small (no bigger than the head of a pin) brown bug with a hard shell. Learn more about fleas and how they affect you in this fun article just for kids.|
|Hey! A Scorpion Stung Me! Scorpions are about three inches long (about the length of a crayon), with eight legs and a small pair of claws that look like crabs' claws. Read all about them.|
|What to Do When You're Bugged by Bugs Ugh. Bugs. They're cool, but they also can ruin your day by stinging or biting you. Find out how to handle them in this article.|
|Going Away to Camp Are you ready for sleepaway camp? Learn more about it in this article for kids.|
|What's West Nile Virus? What exactly is the West Nile virus? And what do mosquitoes have to do with it? Find out in this article!|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.