From Dr. Harrington:
We have many, many stories from our trip to Africa where we visited our oldest daughter, our son-in-law and two beautiful grandchildren. Most of them are anecdotal and are more interesting to someone who has also taken a trip there. However, some experiences do translate into helpful hints to the average American. Keep in mind; I am actually more of a homebody than a natural traveler.
I grew up in Montana, where the 6 months of below freezing temperatures is nature’s perfect mosquito abatement. Mosquito abatement in California is big business and largely effective. Suffice to say that we Americans don’t really have a mosquito problem, unless you live in the Louisiana Bayou or Florida Everglades. In Africa, you must sleep under a mosquito net. I spent a few sleepless nights battling a solitary mosquito that got into our mosquito net. Of course, mosquito’s love me and seemed largely uninterested in Julie. One night I fell asleep with my elbow/forearm against the netting. I can’t confirm how many mosquitoes were called to the banquet, but I was clearly the buffet offering, receiving over 50 bites in a 6” by 6” area.
Here’s the advice of the locals: never scratch a bite.
Not only will it not itch...ever...but it will heal faster. They are absolutely right. On a 1-10 scale of itch, when you first notice a mosquito bite it is a 1. If you can resist the urge for a couple hours to scratch the bite, it will disappear fairly quickly and never go above a 1 on the itch scale. However, if you scratch it, even a little, the itch factor goes up exponentially; as does the healing cycle. Scientifically, by scratching a mosquito bite you are activating a histamine response. It’s a lot like purposefully exposing yourself to something that makes you sneeze.