When a mosquito bite causes itching and discomfort, you can often find relief with kitchen staples like oatmeal, honey, or baking soda.
Mosquito bites are the hallmark of warmer weather. Though the bites are often harmless, some can cause complications.
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.
Mosquitoes can carry diseases, although the likelihood of being infected by a mosquito depends largely on where you live. Another rare problem caused by a mosquito bite is a serious reaction to the bite itself.
If you have a mosquito bite and develop symptoms of an allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing, or a swollen throat, contact a doctor immediately.
You may not feel it immediately when a mosquito bites you. But the bump the bite leaves behind comes with a persistent itch that can linger for days. Creams and ointments can help, but you can also beat the itch with things that are probably already lying around your house.
One remedy for an uncomfortable mosquito bite may also be one of your favorite breakfasts. Oatmeal can relieve itching and swelling because it contains special compounds that have
Make an oatmeal paste by mixing equal amounts of oatmeal and water in a bowl until you have a spackle-like substance. Spoon some paste onto a washcloth and hold it, paste-side down, on the irritated skin for about 10 minutes. Then wipe the area clean.
If you have many bites, try an oatmeal bath instead. Place 1 cup of oatmeal or ground oats into a bathtub full of warm water. To avoid potential plumbing problems, you may want to tie up the oats first in a piece of cheesecloth or another light fabric. Think of it like a giant tea bag that you’ll toss into the bath water. Soak in the oatmeal bath for 20 minutes.
Cold temperatures and ice can reduce inflammation. The cold also numbs the skin, which can give you immediate but short-term relief. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using a cold, damp cloth or an ice pack to relieve the itching caused by a mosquito bite. A bag of crushed ice can also work well in a pinch.
Do not put ice directly on your skin, because it can cause damage. Instead, put a barrier such as a washcloth between your skin and the ice.
To relieve itch, apply a cold pack for up to 5 or 10 minutes, several times a day.
Turning up the temperature on your bug bite may also help you get relief. There’s no evidence to say how well it works, but you can buy a special tool such as BiteAway that applies direct, controlled heat to the bite. This is said to reduce swelling and itching. The treatment only takes a few seconds, but these tools can be expensive.
To try for a similar effect, soak a clean cloth in water that feels as warm as you can comfortably stand (but be careful not to burn yourself). Wring out the cloth and apply it to the bite. Re-soak the cloth as needed to keep it warm, and continue for up to 10 minutes. Do not apply heat therapy to an open wound.
This sugary sweet substance is a common pick among home-remedy enthusiasts. Honey has been used for hundreds of years as a treatment for ailments like sore throats and dry skin. Medical grade honey has many
A small drop on an itchy bite could potentially reduce the inflammation. It may reduce your temptation to scratch, as scratching skin covered in honey can create a sticky mess.
A common household plant, aloe vera has many uses beyond shelf decoration. The gel has been shown to reduce pain from burns and help them
To try this, cut open a small section of the plant. Apply the plant’s gel to the area that’s irritated. Let it dry, and apply again as needed.
Found in virtually every kitchen, baking soda has a multitude of uses — from baking bread to clearing drains. Otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda may also provide relief from a mosquito bite.
It’s easy to make a baking soda paste, and you can use it in a similar manner to oatmeal paste. The
If skin irritation occurs, stop this treatment.
The fragrant basil plant is a key ingredient of many of your favorite Italian recipes, but it does double duty as a mosquito-bite remedy. The plant is used in herbal remedies for skin infections, and the antioxidants found in basil leaves may reduce inflammation.
To make a basil rub, boil 2 cups of water and add half an ounce of dried basil leaves. Leave the mixture to steep until it’s cool. Then dip a washcloth into the liquid, and rub it gently on your mosquito bites.
Alternately, you can chop some fresh basil leaves up until very fine, and rub them on to your skin.
If you notice irritation, stop using this remedy.
If you have an itchy bite, dab a drop of vinegar on it. The vinegar can help reduce stinging and burning sensations. It can also act as a natural disinfectant if you’ve been scratching too much.
If you need more relief, try soaking a washcloth in cold water and vinegar, and then applying it to the bite. If you have many bites, dilute 2 cups of vinegar in a tepid bath and soak for 20 minutes. Beware, a hot bath may make itching worse.
If skin irritation occurs, stop this treatment.
Not only can onions bring tears to your eyes, they can bring relief to your mosquito bites. The onion’s juices, which leak out from the freshly cut bulb, may reduce the bite’s sting and irritation. Onions also have natural
Cut a slice from an onion — the type doesn’t matter — and apply it directly to the bite for several minutes. Rinse and wash the area well after you remove the onion.
The petite leaves of the thyme plant are delicious on potatoes, fish, and more. They may also help ease the itching of a mosquito bite.
Thyme is longstanding natural
To get the most benefit from thyme, finely mince the fresh leaves. You can apply the leaves directly to your bite, and let them sit for 10 minutes.
You can also make a concentrated liquid by bringing water to boil, and adding several sprigs of thyme. Let the sprigs steep until the water is cooled. Then dip a washcloth into the thyme-infused water, and apply to the bites. Leave the washcloth in place for a few minutes.
For extra relief, wrap a thyme-soaked washcloth around an ice cube for a natural cooling effect.
Peppermint oil is another centuries-old natural remedy used to relieve itching. A small
Mix a few drops of peppermint oil into an ounce of carrier oil, like coconut oil or olive oil. Dab a small amount of the mixture onto your mosquito bite and gently rub it in. Do not apply undiluted peppermint oil to your skin.
You can also add a few drops of peppermint oil to a bathtub full of tepid water for a soothing soak.
Take care when using essential oils, as they can interact with medications or have other unexpected effects. Do your research, always talk with your doctor first, and follow all safety guidelines.
This treatment is not appropriate for young children.
Lemon balm is a leafy plant that’s closely related to mint. The herb has been used for centuries as a soothing all-natural
For mosquito bites, you can apply finely chopped leaves directly to the bite, or you can buy a lemon balm cream.
Lemon balm contains tannin, a natural astringent. In addition, lemon balm contains polyphenols. Together, these natural compounds ease inflammation, speed up healing, and reduce the risk of an infection.
Witch hazel is a natural astringent you can buy over the counter in pharmacies and grocery stores. Like lemon balm, witch hazel contains
Used alone, witch hazel can be beneficial for any number of skin irritations, from minor cuts and scrapes to hemorrhoids. Applying witch hazel to the skin reduces inflammation, soothes the burning and irritation the bite causes, and can speed up healing.
Apply a small amount of witch hazel to a cotton ball. Gently dab or swipe it over the bite. Allow it to dry. Repeat this as needed.
Arnica is another natural product you can buy to treat minor skin concerns. The herb itself is toxic, but can be diluted to produce the products available in stores. Options include creams and gels.
Although it’s a popular home remedy, scientific evidence shows mixed results. However, many claim that arnica reduces bruising, pain, swelling, and inflammation when applied to skin. So you might choose to try it on a mosquito bite.
All you need to do is apply a small amount of arnica cream or gel to the bite. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how to choose a good quality arnica product.
Chamomile, which is a member of the daisy family, is a common natural remedy for many ailments. When applied to skin, the oils found in chamomile can reduce itching and inflammation.
Steep a tea bag filled with the dried, crushed flowers in water in a refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then squeeze any excess water from the tea bag, and apply it directly to your bite. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Wipe the area clean with a wet rag. You can chill the tea bag in the fridge for additional applications later.
It’s rare, but be aware that chamomile can cause
Garlic is a well-known natural remedy for conditions from heart disease to high blood pressure. While more conventional treatments may be preferred for those serious conditions, a bit of garlic applied to an irritating bug bite is an easy home remedy for a mosquito bite.
But before you slice into a bulb and apply it to your bite, know that applying cut garlic straight to a skin wound or bite may cause
Instead of that, finely mince up fresh garlic and stir a small amount in with an unscented lotion or petroleum jelly. These ointments and creams will help reduce the garlic’s potency but still allow you to get relief from the garlic’s natural antibacterial and healing effects.
Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, then wipe it off your skin. Wipe the area down with a cool washcloth. Apply more later if the itching persists.
Of course, the best way to get rid of mosquito bite irritation is to avoid a bite altogether. 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 fear the petite blood-sucking bugs, cover your skin and stay away from standing water to reduce your exposure. If you are bitten, quickly stop the swelling and itching with a safe, cost-efficient homemade remedy.
If you notice irritation or other negative reactions when using a home remedy, stop using it right away.