Five Home Remedies to Help with Mosquito and Other Bug Bites
Provided by DEA Ranch
Oh, those mosquitoes and their itchy bites! Scratching only makes it worse because it irritates the skin and further spreads the substances injected from the bug. At best the bites are pesky and spoil the outdoor fun, but they can be dangerous. Taking care of them quickly reduces discomfort and prevents more serious consequences.
While many commercial products exist to deal with bites, there are several home remedies that are just as effective and much cheaper. Most of the five listed below are readily available in most homes and may be packed to carry on more remote camping trips.
1. Household ammonia.
Yes, that everyday cleaner with the strong smell provides immediate relief for the itch. Check the ingredients named on most of the commercial anti-itch products, and you will see it at the top of the list. Pour some from your own bottle into a small dish and soak a cotton ball in it. Apply directly to the bite. It may sting a bit but it usually relieves the itch right away. For a camping trip carry a small jar of soaked cotton pads. It works on many different bites and stings.
2. Baking soda
Mix a spoonful of baking soda with a bit of water and make a paste. Apply directly to the bite. It stops the itch and reduces any swelling and/or redness. After the paste dries, it will flake or brush off easily. For multiple bites, bathe in water with about ½ cup of soda added.
Use the same way as ammonia, especially on more sensitive skin. Vinegar not only helps with bites but will take some of the heat from sunburn. Of course, you will smell like a pickle, but it’s worth the relief. Reapply as often as needed.
Our distant ancestors found honey to have many healing properties. More than just good for eating, it works great on itchy bites, stings, sores, and even bruises. Always keep some on hand for your camping trips for a variety of uses. Of course, it stays sticky, but you can wash it gently off after it’s had time to work.
Not only a healthy breakfast (especially with the honey!), but this old-fashioned cereal eases the itch and sting of bites and rashes. Make a paste of uncooked oatmeal (ground or flakes) and smear it thickly onto the affected area. It works especially well on infants, toddlers and anyone with super-sensitive skin. For multiple bites or a large rash, bathe in water using colloidal oatmeal powder. This product is inexpensive to buy or you can make your own from quick-cooking or old-fashioned oatmeal in a food processor or blender.
Most mosquito bites are just pesky nuisances, small red bites that go away in a day or so. As mentioned before, however, they can cause serious, even life-threatening problems. These include diseases such as West Nile Virus, encephalitis, dengue fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Be watchful of any symptoms beyond the normal. A bite that spreads to the size of a quarter or larger; becomes a fiery red and warm to touch indicates there is a problem. More serious symptoms can occur up to three days after the bite and include headaches, nausea, unusual fatigue, and fever. If these appear, then consult a doctor as soon as possible. Some people are allergic to bug bites, including those of mosquitoes. A severe allergic reaction such as an anaphylactic shock is rare but requires immediate medical attention. It produces swelling of the throat, wheezing and severe respiratory distress.
The best way to treat mosquito bite problems, of course, is to prevent them. Avoid the times of day that mosquitoes are most prevalent, such as early morning and evening, and wear long sleeves and pants. Use repellent, both on the skin and smoking repellent canisters. Just use common sense in your outdoor activities, and you will be able to enjoy them with minimal bite problems.
For information about outdoor recreation at DEA Ranch, visit www.dearanch.com