Home Mosquito Bite Remedies
Mosquitoes are not only annoying to listen to because of the loud buzzing noise they make, they can also cause a lot of discomfort and sometimes even pain. Mosquitoes feed on blood, and unfortunately for us, we have lots of it.
Warm springs and summers might leave us feeling drained from the itching and the constant need for repellents. But what should we do when we have been bitten?
Believe it or not, there are a few dos and don'ts when it comes to mosquito bites which we’ll look at in this article. I will also share with you some great home remedies for mosquito bites to help ease the itching.
How to Tell If You’ve Been Bitten by a Mosquito
You are out on a hike and all of a sudden you get an immense urge to itch your arm. Upon further inspection, you spot a big red bump. Anything could have caused that, so how will you know if it was a mosquito?
When a mosquito bites, those red bumps will quickly form. They swell up and usually a very small hole in the center will be visible. This is the place where the mosquito bit. You might notice several bites around the same area.
Mosquito bites aren't necessarily perfectly round, they can come in different sizes and shapes. The bump will be significantly larger if the mosquito fed for longer. You might only get a small red spot with minor swelling if it was just a quick feed.
Did you know that mosquitoes don't actually bite? Instead, they sting and suck. A mosquito has a long straw-like tube for a mouth. The female mosquito uses this to pierce through the skin and suck up blood. You may feel a slight stinging sensation when the mosquito first bites, but other than that it’s the itchiness we feel after the bite that brings us discomfort.
This irritation occurs because of the body's reaction to the mosquito's saliva. When the mosquito bites, it injects saliva, which consists of an anticoagulant and proteins. These properties stop the blood from clotting, creating an easy meal for the pest.
The proteins from the mosquito are foreign to our bodies, therefore our bodies release histamines. The histamine is what brings white blood cells to the area that has been bitten. The itching is actually from the histamine, not from the mosquito.
Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine can bring some relief to the itching. Or you can opt for a home remedy such as the ones we’ll look at later on in this article.
Mosquito Bite Tolerance
Ever wondered why the mosquito chose you instead of your friends? The scent of released carbon dioxide attracts mosquitoes, as do the other chemicals in our sweat.
Rubbing some citronella oil on any exposed skin before going out can help to keep the mosquitoes away. Citronella oil confuses the mosquito's sense of smell, making it hard to distinguish whether or not we're worth a taste.It is possible to become almost completely tolerant to the bites and their effects. However, it will take a lot of bites before you get to this point.
Mosquito Bite Reactions and When to Worry
Reactions to mosquito bites vary depending on the person. Some people might only experience minor swelling and the itchiness will go away quite quickly. Others might experience a whole bunch of side effects.
Of these side effects, allergic reactions and fever are not uncommon. Younger children and people with lowered immune function are most vulnerable.
If the effects become extreme, don't go away, and don’t seem to be easing off, seek medical help. Some mosquitoes carry dangerous diseases and viruses that we can contract when bitten.
It's vital to keep children safe and protected from mosquitoes, especially if you are living in a place where disease-carrying mosquitoes can be found.
Home Remedies for Mosquito Bites
Once bitten, the discomfort will start. The itching may even become unbearable, but what can you do? There are hundreds of home remedies claiming to help ease mosquito bite irritation—but do they work?
Some remedies require a lot of preparation. These may not be the best option. Anything you have to pre-cook won't offer you a quick-fix for the itching. You need something that is ready to use, in case mosquitoes really get stuck into you.
The number one thing to do when bitten by a mosquito is to wash the area with cold water and soap. The quicker you can get some of that saliva off, the better. But sometimes you need a little more help. Below are some of my favorite home remedies.
Fresh honey is a very strong natural antibiotic. It will provide quick relief and ease the swelling. If you have been bitten, smear a small amount of honey onto the area. Try to rub it around a little and maybe do a quick massage.
Honey is also an excellent treatment for older mosquito bites that might have been scratched one too many times. If the area is scratched open, honey will help it to heal.
This plant can easily be grown in a pot on the terrace, or in your backyard. It has long, thick leaves, which, when cut open, reveal a soothing gel ready to be applied.
Aloe soothes the skin and the affected area. In just a few seconds, the itchiness will start to wear off. The natural cooling gel of Aloe vera has antioxidant, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties. These will help reduce the swelling and itching of the bite.
Vaporub is a must-have during winter and flu season. It provides relief when coughing and helps to clear the nose. Know what else it can do? Ease the mosquito itching. The menthol in the vaporub will ease any discomfort.
Don’t go overboard, apply just a small amount to the affected area.
Ice can help to relieve and reduce a lot of bumps on our bodies. It’s also good for sore muscles and swellings, so it's no wonder that ice is on this list.
Mosquito bites can sometimes feel hot, and that's due to the blood rushing to the spot. Applying an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables will help ease any itching, swelling, and redness.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is known for being able to treat infections. It has natural antibacterial properties that work well on mosquito bites.
Using just a drop of the vinegar on an itchy bite can reduce the burning and stinging sensation. An excellent way to treat a bite with vinegar is by soaking a washcloth in both cold water and apple cider vinegar. Then, apply this directly to the bite.
You can also make an apple cider vinegar bath if you have been bitten several times. Run a bath with cool water and add half a bottle of apple cider vinegar. Then, simply relax in the tub for about 20 minutes. Make sure the water is cool or cold, though, hot water can increase the itching.
Apple cider vinegar can also be used as a disinfectant on any bites that have been scratched too much.
Chamomile is suitable for many things. It has soothing properties that work great for sleepless nights. The flower can reduce inflammation, help with healing, and ease any skin irritation.
The best way to use this tea as a quick fix for mosquito bites is by steeping one or two tea bags in boiling water. Then place the cup in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Take out the tea bags and squeeze the water from them.
You can apply the tea bags directly to the bite, or you can dip a cotton ball in the liquid and apply this to the area. Put the cup and contents back in your fridge—you might need more later.
Make an X
This remedy might sound a bit strange, but bear with me. After getting bitten by a mosquito, you might be left with a huge bump, it's itching like never before, so what can you do?
Making indentations in the swollen area may help to ease some of the itching for a short time. Try to create an X using your fingernail or a blunt object. Wash your hands or the tool before doing this, and remember to only press very gently.
This trick will only last until the X fades, so it's not a one-time fix. But if you're out and far away from anything that can relieve the discomfort, this remedy is worth trying.
Banana peels are filled with natural oils that will quickly make the itching disappear. Using them as a mosquito bite remedy is easy to do.
Simply peel the banana, take a piece of the peel (or the whole thing) and rub it flesh-side down on the affected area. It will make the discomfort fade in seconds.
As an added bonus, you have a delicious snack to take your mind off the bites.
Lemon balm is a herb which is closely related to mint. It has been used for centuries to treat various conditions. Lemon balm contains tannins and polyphenols. These components help to ease inflammation, reduce the risk of infection, and help the skin heal quicker.
There are two ways to use lemon balm as a bite relief. Firstly, if you have the plant close to hand, chop up some of the leaves and apply these directly to the skin.
The alternative is to purchase lemon balm essential oil. The oil can easily be rubbed onto the skin. If you have sensitive skin, you may need to dilute this with a carrier oil before applying.
Baking soda is something you can find in almost every kitchen. It is a substance with many uses, from helping to create light, delicious cupcakes, to clearing drains. We can also use it to treat mosquito bites.
A good way to use baking soda for a bite is by creating a paste. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Remember to add water little by little, don't overdo it. Apply the paste to the area and let it sit for around 5 to 10 minutes.
What Not to Do When Treating a Mosquito Bite
Once you’ve been bitten by a mosquito, it can be very hard to resist the urge to scratch at the bite. Sometimes we do so naturally, before we even realize we’ve been bitten.
But try to stop yourself, because scratching at the bite will do you more harm than the quick relief is worth.
Our fingernails are full of bacteria, more so if we're outdoors. Scratching mosquito bites will only worsen the itch, which means we will likely scratch even harder. This can result in broken skin which, in turn, can lead to infections.
A good thing to do is to cover the area as quickly as possible. Bare skin is more accessible for us to scratch at. Putting a band-aid, or even just a piece of tape, over the affected area can act as a quick reminder to fight the urge.
If the urge to scratch is getting too much and you can't cover the bite, try to tap or slap it with your hand. This may stop the itching for a short time.
Be Careful With Your Skin
Home remedies are an excellent treatment option but be aware that some solutions may not suit every skin type. Treatments consisting of essential oils, vinegar or baking soda can cause skin irritation, particularly on sensitive skin.
Although home remedies work very well, you should still be cautious and look out for any signs of discomfort.
Stop Children From Scratching
If you have children who are particularly susceptible to the discomfort of mosquito bites, it's essential to calm them. The itching can be severe, and the last thing you want is for them to scratch at themselves until they're bleeding.
Apply a remedy swiftly to give them quick relief. Then, remind them from time to time not to scratch. A good idea, particularly with young children or toddlers, is to distract them with something they like, such as a game or a toy.
When bitten by a mosquito, some people can't help but panic a little, over the thought of the diseases the pest could be carrying.
Running off to the emergency room thinking you have been infected with the Zika virus is not a good idea. Take a deep breath first, chances are the mosquito was just an ordinary, non-zika-infected mosquito trying to feed.
Symptoms of the Zika virus include fever, joint pain, red eyes and a rash. Unless you're experiencing any of these, stay put and apply a home remedy to see if it relieves the discomfort.
However, if you are pregnant and you live in an area where the Zika-carrying mosquito lives, do go to your doctor and request a blood test. It's better to be safe than sorry.
Mosquito bites are inevitable during the summer. That is, unless you’re lucky enough that mosquitoes find you so repelling they don't want to come near you.
Home remedies for mosquito bites are a safe, fast and effective way to ease the itching and any inflammation. My favorite home remedy, by far, is Aloe vera. This natural gel soothes the skin and cools the burning sensation caused by the bite instantaneously.
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