Mosquito bites vs. Processionary caterpillar: How to identify and treat it!

In this blog we will compare the itching caused by mosquito bites and processionary caterpillars. We will discuss in detail the differences between the two, as well as advice on effective measures to relieve the itch.

Itching from mosquito bites

Mosquito Bumps

Mosquito bites can be quite annoying and the associated itching can cause a lot of discomfort. It’s important to understand what exactly causes itching in mosquito bites so you can take the right measures to get relief.

When a mosquito bites you, it injects its saliva into your skin. Mosquito saliva contains proteins that trigger a response from your immune system. The immune system responds to these proteins by releasing histamine, which leads to an inflammatory response.

Histamine is a chemical involved in regulating inflammatory and immune responses in the body. In mosquito bites, the released histamine causes dilation of blood vessels and increased permeability of the capillaries around the bite. This results in redness, swelling and itching.

It usually starts with a small, red bump on the skin. The bite may be accompanied by itching, swelling and irritation. In some cases, the skin around the bite may feel warm to the touch. The size of the mosquito bite can vary, from a small point to a slightly larger elevation.

In addition to the initial symptoms, the itching from a mosquito bite can last for several days. While most mosquito bites are harmless and heal on their own, the intensity of the reaction can vary from person to person. Some people may experience more sensitivity and have a stronger reaction to mosquito bites.

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Itching caused by Processionary caterpillars

Reactions to processionary caterpillars can indeed be more intense than to mosquito bites. When the skin comes into direct contact with the caterpillars’ stinging hairs, various symptoms can occur, including small red bumps or blisters. This reaction is caused by the irritating substances present in the stinging hairs of the processionary caterpillars. Much more about processionary caterpillars.

The caterpillars’ stinging hairs contain a protein called thaumetopoein, which triggers an immune response upon contact with the skin. Small red bumps or blisters may appear on the skin in the areas that have come into direct contact with the hairs. These bumps or blisters can be itchy, irritated and sometimes painful. The reaction may vary in intensity and may spread to adjacent areas of the skin.

What makes the itch caused by processionary caterpillars extra challenging is that, unlike mosquito bites, this itch often lasts for a long time. It can last for weeks and sometimes even return after exposure to the stinging hairs. This is because the irritants in the stinging hairs can penetrate deep into the skin and cause a sustained immune response.

It is important to know that the severity of the reaction to processionary caterpillars can vary from person to person. Some people experience only mild symptoms, while others may experience severe itching and inflammation.

What to do with itching caused by mosquito bites and processionary caterpillars:

  1. Soothing and anti-itching agents: For mosquito bites, it is advisable to apply a soothing lotion or anti-itching agent to the bites. This will help reduce itching and soothe irritation. For processionary caterpillars, it is important to rinse the skin thoroughly with water after exposure and to remove any stinging hairs using adhesive tape. Then applying a soothing lotion or corticosteroid cream can help relieve the itch. More on hormone ointments how do you lubricate it properly?
  2. Avoid scratching: Scratching can make the irritation worse and can lead to infection. It’s important to resist the urge to scratch, no matter how hard it may be.
  3. Cold compresses: Applying a cold compress to itchy skin can provide temporary relief and reduce inflammation. This can be applied to both mosquito bites and reactions to processionary caterpillars.
  4. Soothing ingredients: which can help reduce itching and irritation.
    • Aloe vera: Aloe vera gel has anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe the skin. It can reduce itching and soothe irritation.
    • Avena sativa (oats): also known as oats, has calming and soothing properties. It can help reduce itching and irritation caused by mosquito bites.
    • Chamomile: Known for its calming properties, it is often used to relieve skin irritations. Chamomile extract can reduce itching and soothe the skin.
    • Calendula: Also known as marigold, has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce itching and irritation. It can also promote skin healing.
    • Menthol: has a cooling effect on the skin and can provide temporary relief from itching. It also has mild sedative properties, which can reduce itching.
    • Marshmallow root (marshmallow root): Marshmallow root contains mucilages that can form a protective layer on the skin. It can help reduce itching and soften the skin.
    • Camphor: has a cooling effect on the skin and may help reduce itching. It also has mild analgesic properties, which can reduce discomfort.
  5. Oral antihistamines: In some cases, taking an oral antihistamine can help reduce the itching and control the allergic reaction. Consult a doctor or pharmacist for advice on the right antihistamine for your situation.
  6. If you have come into contact with processionary caterpillars and suffer from itching, it is important to rinse the skin thoroughly with water. Remove any stinging hairs using adhesive tape.

When choosing a soothing lotion or anti-itch remedy, it is advisable to look for products that contain one or more of these ingredients. It is also important to follow the instructions on the package and only apply the lotion or cream to the bites, avoiding contact with open wounds or irritated skin.

What not to do:

It is indeed crucial to avoid scratching mosquito bites and the irritated skin caused by processionary caterpillars. This allows the following steps to be taken to prevent unnecessary complications:

  1. Avoid scratching: While it may be tempting to scratch itchy mosquito bites or skin that has been in contact with processionary caterpillars, it is important to avoid doing so. Scratching can damage the skin and introduce microbes, which can lead to infections and complications.
  2. Do not use rough materials: Avoid using rough materials such as hard brushes or rough towels on the irritated skin. These can further damage the skin and make the itching worse.
  3. Do not rub or abrade: Do not rub the mosquito bites or irritated skin. This can make the irritation worse and cause inflammation.
  4. Do not expose to heat: Avoid applying heat to mosquito bites or irritated skin such as hot compresses or hot showers. Heat can intensify itching and increase inflammation.
  5. Do not self-medicate without advice: Do not attempt to take any medication without first consulting a doctor or pharmacist. Some creams or ointments can cause unintended side effects or make the situation worse if not used correctly.

Iconic Elements Tip

Iconic Elements Calming Cream: At the end of this blog, we would like to highlight the Iconic Elements Calming Cream. This cream contains natural ingredients such as marshmallow root, avena sativa and ectoine, which are known for their soothing properties for itching. The cream helps to reduce itching and provides relief to irritated skin.

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While you are here

Itching is a common problem that almost everyone experiences at some point. Pruritus is the medical term for itching without visible skin abnormalities, while prurigo refers to itching in combination with skin abnormalities. If you suffer from itching yourself, then it is simply itching for you.

Of course you want to get rid of the itch before it drives you to despair. Of course you want to get rid of the itch before it drives you to despair.

More on puritus

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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