8 Home Remedies for Relieving Mosquito Bites
Mosquitoes are more than just a pain in the … skin. Some are capable of transmitting diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue, filariasis, encephalitis and West Nile virus. People of all ages are at risk, with those over the age of 50 at higher risk for severe infection.
Obviously the best defense is a good offense. Avoid mosquitoes as much as possible using the following tips:
• Mosquitoes require water in which to breed, so first eliminate any standing water around your home. Clean pet dishes regularly, check and empty toys and planters, clear roof gutters of debris that can trap water, and empty out any container that has collected rain water.
• Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. Studies have shown that some of the 174 mosquito species in the US are more attracted to dark clothing and most can readily bite through tight fitting clothing of loose weave. When practical, wear long sleeves and pants, especially during the peak biting hours from dusk to dawn.
• You can use a commercial insect repellent that contains DEET, however, some research has shown that mosquitoes are actually becoming less sensitive to the chemicals. You may want to try one of these natural repellents offered by Emaxhealth reporter Deborah Mitchell.
Once you are bitten, however, how can you stop that horrifyingly annoying itch? There are several over the counter products, such as Benadryl cream and Gold Bond Powder. However, you may find what you need right in your own home:
1. Hot Water/Hot Spoon
When mosquitoes bite, they inject proteins under the skin to keep blood from clotting. This protein causes an allergic reaction and subsequent itch, but it cannot survive hot temperatures. Try pressing a towel soaked in hot water or use a hot spoon right on the area for a few seconds to stop the itching. The heat counteracts the histamine response. (Note: a warm bath helps too! Try adding two cups of ground oatmeal or Epsom salts to the bath water.)
Interestingly, cold water also works. The cold will help constrict the blood vessels, thereby decreasing blood flow which should help prevent any venom from spreading. Plus, the numbing of the skin also lessens the itchiness. Rub an ice cube over the bite for one minute, then let it rest for another 60 seconds. Alternate for a total of 10 minutes.
3. Lemon or Lime Slice
The citric acid contained in these fruits can help relieve the itching. If you don’t have any whole fruit in your home, you can also make a compress using lemon juice, witch hazel or apple cider vinegar.
4. Banana Peel
By the way, this remedy might also work for other itchy ailments, such as poison ivy rash. Peel the banana, cut off a bit of the skin, and rub the inside of it on the affected area. Let it dry (do not rinse) and repeat as often as needed.
5. Slice of Onion
Onions contain a powerful healing enzyme that can relieve the discomfort and promote healing.
6. Baking Soda Paste
Make a paste with baking soda and a few drops of warm water. Apply the past to the area (but don’t rub it in) and let it sit for about 15 minutes before washing off. The baking soda helps neutralize the venom from the sting or bite.
Apply toothpaste to the bite and let it dry. Peppermint toothpaste might work best, as the oil used contains both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Other common bathroom items that may help with the itch from mosquito bites include deodorant, soap and minty mouthwash.
8. Medicine Cabinet Itch Relievers
Crush aspirin or Tums and add a few drops of water to make a thick past and apply directly over the bite. You might also try Vicks Vapo Rub, Preparation H, Orajel or Mylanta if you have those on hand.
American Mosquito Control Association