Mosquitos bite exposed skin anywhere they find it, including on your lips. If you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and can now venture out without a face mask, this is a potential hazard you may be happy to face.
Mosquito bites can be itchy and uncomfortable. They may also get infected or cause allergic reactions.
It’s possible to prevent mosquito bites on your lips, even without a facial covering. There are also treatments that can reduce mosquito bite symptoms, should you get bitten.
In this article we’ll go over everything you need to know about preventing and treating mosquito bites on your lips. We’ll also discuss more serious conditions which may result from a mosquito bite.
Mosquito bites on your lips can result in:
- redness or discoloration
The symptoms above can usually be treated at home. Before using any at-home treatment, wash the area with soap and water, to eliminate external debris which can cause an infection.
If you’re bitten on your lips, these strategies can help reduce mosquito bite symptoms:
- Ice. Apply an ice pack to the area for 10 minutes on and off, until the itching subsides.
- Witch hazel. Dab your lips with a cotton ball soaked in witch hazel.
- Baking soda. Make a paste out of 1 teaspoon baking soda and several drops of water. Apply to the bite and leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse off.
- Topical cream. Apply a small amount of antihistamine cream or anti-itch cream onto the bite. Be careful not to ingest.
- Oral antihistamine. If you have an allergic reaction to the bite, or have multiple bites, taking an oral antihistamine will help reduce symptoms.
- Lip balm. It’s not proven, but some users say that lip balms containing mint relieve itching from a mosquito bite on their lips.
Mosquitoes are attracted to the scents of:
- exhaled carbon dioxide
- body heat
Mosquitos are also drawn to dark colors. You can prevent mosquito bites on your lips by:
- wearing light-colored hats and head coverings instead of dark ones
- applying a natural mosquito repellent, such as lavender oil, to your face and neck
- using a DEET-based bug spray. Despite its reputation, DEET is safe to use on skin for most people. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against using it on infants under 2 months old. Avoid getting any insect repellent, including those containing DEET, into your mouth, nose, or eyes. Applying DEET to the sides of your face and body will be enough to repel mosquitoes from biting your lips.
- avoiding the outdoors during twilight, when mosquitos are most active
Disease and infection are the two biggest potential risks of a mosquito bite on the lips. An allergic reaction to mosquito saliva from the bite is another potential risk.
Diseases carried by mosquitos
Mosquito bites can be more than just an itchy nuisance. Infected mosquitos can carry diseases, such as:
- Malaria. It’s mostcommon in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Around 2,000 cases of malaria are reported in the United States each year, primarily in people who return from these locations.
- West Nile virus. This disease is commonly found in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and West Asia.
- Zika virus. It’s commonly found in South America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Although, cases of Zika virus have also occurred in North America.
- Dengue fever. This disease is typically found in tropical Asia and the Caribbean.
- Chikungunya virus. This virus is mostly found in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Not everyone bitten by an infected mosquito will have symptoms. If you have concerns, even if you are asymptomatic, call your doctor.
Infections from mosquito bites
Mosquito bites on the lips can easily get infected if they’re scratched. Scratching a mosquito bite can break the skin, introducing bacteria and germs.
If your mosquito bite becomes infected, symptoms may include:
- oozing pus
- redness or discoloration
- pain or soreness
- swollen glands
Allergic reactions to mosquito bites
Some people have more severe allergic reactions to mosquito bites than others. Allergic reactions to mosquito bites might cause the bite to swell up significantly. Blistering may also occur, especially in children insufficiently desensitized to mosquito saliva.
Allergic reactions to mosquito bites can also be severe, requiring immediate medical attention. Emergency symptoms include:
- intense headache
- trouble breathing
- sensitivity to light
- nausea and vomiting
Mosquito bites don’t usually warrant medical attention. Since your lips are a sensitive area of your face, call your doctor if your bite swells up and is larger than the size of a quarter.
You should also call your doctor if you have an infected bite, or severe allergic symptoms.
Don’t assume that mosquitoes in your geographical area can’t carry disease. Changing climates, and the migration of people from one place to another, can be catalysts for altering mosquito habitats. For that reason, call your doctor if you experience flu-like symptoms or a rash after getting a mosquito bite on your lips.
Mosquito bites can occur anywhere on your face or body, including your lips. Most mosquito bites don’t require medical treatment and can be treated at home.
If you have an allergic reaction to a mosquito bite, call your doctor. You should also seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as:
- body aches