You may not even notice when a mosquito bites you. But these small insects leave a nasty bump with a persistent itch, even for days after the fact. But did you know that you can beat the itch with things that are probably already lying around your house?
Mosquito Bites 101
Most mosquito bites are harmless. Mosquitoes bite because they are attracted to human blood. The bite, which might not appear until hours later, creates a bump that is typically swollen, sore, or itchy.
- Only female mosquitoes bite. They’re attracted to body odor, sweat, and lactic acid, as well as heat and light.
- It takes six seconds for a mosquito to bite you.
It is possible that mosquitoes can carry diseases, although the likelihood of being infected by a mosquito is dependent somewhat on where you live. Another rare but possible occurrence is that you will have a negative reaction to a bite. If you experience hives, difficulty breathing, or a swollen throat, contact a doctor immediately.
Did you know one remedy for an uncomfortable mosquito bite may be sitting in your kitchen cupboard? Oatmeal can relieve itching and swelling because it contains special compounds that have anti-irritant qualities.
Make an oatmeal paste by mixing equal amounts of oatmeal and water in a bowl to create a paste-like substance. Spoon some paste onto a washcloth and hold it — paste-side down — on to irritated skin for about ten minutes. Then rinse the area..
If you have many bites, try an oatmeal bath instead. Sprinkle one cup of oatmeal or ground oats into a bathtub full of warm water. Soak in the oatmeal bath for twenty minutes, occasionally rubbing some of the clumped oatmeal onto irritated areas of your skin.
2. Crushed Ice
Cold temperatures can reduce inflammation. The cold also numbs the skin, which can give you immediate — if only short term relief. The Mayo Clinic recommends using a cold pack or a bag filled with crushed ice to relieve itching caused by a mosquito bite. Don’t leave it on too long as it can damage the skin, or put a barrier between your skin and the ice, such as a washcloth.
Honey has many anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This sweet substance is a common pick among home remedy enthusiasts. It has hundreds and hundreds of years of medicinal history that supports its everyday use for various ailments and bites. A small drop on an itchy bite may be just the relief you need.
4. Aloe Vera
A common household plant, aloe vera has many uses beyond shelf decoration. There is strong evidence that aloe has potential use as a treatment for psoriasis, herpes, constipation, and more.
The gel has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, and can help to heal minor wounds or calm infections, and may be a good bet for healing a bug bite. To try this, cut open a plant. Apply the plant’s gel to the area that is irritated.
5. Baking Soda
Found in virtually every kitchen, it’s almost as though baking soda can be used for anything — from baking bread to clearing drains. Otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate, it’s also a mosquito bite remedy.
It’s easy to make a baking soda paste that you can use in a similar manner to oatmeal paste. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water to create a paste. Apply it to the bug bite for ten minutes before washing away.
The fragrant basil plant is a key ingredient of many of your favorite Italian recipes, and it does double duty as a mosquito bite remedy. Studies suggest that this common herb contains chemical compounds, like eugenol, that could relieve itchy skin.
To make a basil rub, boil two cups of water and add half an ounce of dried basil leaves. Leave the mixture to steep until it is cool. Then dip a washcloth into it and rub it gently on your mosquito bites. Alternately, just chop some fresh basil leaves up until very fine, and rub them on to your skin.
Of course, the best way to get rid of mosquito bite irritation is to not get bitten at all! Keep in mind that these insects are more active in the evening and at night. If you want to enjoy a summer evening outdoors but are scared of being bit, cover your skin and stay away from standing water to reduce the chance of getting bit.
Do not let bugs ruin your summer spending time outside with family and friends. Stop the bites and, if you are bit, quickly stop the swelling and itching with a safe, cost-efficient homemade remedy.