Don’t Scratch That!

Do you remember when you were a little kid and you would be able to enjoy those beautiful summer nights of playing outside with your friends just long enough to steal the few remaining rays of light?  Remember how fun those nights were?  Yeah, I’m sure they were great… great until the mosqitoes came out.  All it took was one bite, one bite and your night was ruined.  You just wanted to scratch, but your mom told you not to.  I mean, what did she know?  She couldn’t have had any idea of the excrutiating annoyingness of that one bite.  Just.  One.  Scratch.

Now I’ve heard of a lot of different methods to keep your mind off of scratching.  I’ve heard of making a small X with your finger nail right on the spot, covering the spot with an array of dressings (from peanut butter to toothpaste), and trying to resqueeze out the stuff that the mosquito put in you.  I don’t know if any of those would actually work (or be any good for your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches), but I do know one way to fix this.

Your skin has a ton of receptors leading from pain, to heat, to stretch.  A lot of these receptors have common pathways leading to your brain.  So instead of focussing on how to get the bite from itching, you have to get your brain to stop thinking about the bite.  Alright, so how?  By rubbing the area around the mosquito bite, you’re activating a range of other receptors that are sending signals to the brain.  Ultimately, you’re confusing your own brain with this barrage of signals.  The brain is picking up the information from the (now slightly chapped) area instead of the irritating itch receptor.  Itching can actually damage the skin and open your body to easy access for bacteria and other nasty things you don’t want in you.

So next time you get that urge to scratch, just prove your superiority over your brain and trick it.  Rub the area instead of scratching.  Either that or take showers in mosquito repellent.

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