10 Ways to Relieve Itchy Mosquito Bites
April 23, 2014
When mosquitoes bite, it’s their way of acquiring the blood they need to nourish their eggs as they develop thus, only female mosquitoes bite. Unfortunately, they also deposit a protein that’s commonly found in mosquito saliva, which results in a mild allergic reaction in most people. The body responds by releasing histamines, which is what causes the itching and swelling to occur.
Your knee-jerk reaction will undoubtedly be to scratch that itch to gain some instant relief, but this is the last thing you should do. Scratching can open up the bite and invite bacteria to enter your body, which can lead to a potentially serious infection. The good news is that there are numerous remedies available to relieve the itch. The bad news is that not all remedies work for everyone, so you may have to try several until you find the one that works for you. Regardless of which remedy you try, you should first treat the bite by thoroughly washing it with soap and water to minimize the risk of infection.
- Ice – Applying an ice bag or cold pack directly on the bite can reduce the swelling and promote the healing process, while the chill from the ice can relieve the itching sensation.
- Antihistamines – Since the itching and swelling is caused by your body’s release of histamines, it makes perfect sense to take an over-the-counter antihistamine to combat this reaction.
- Hydrocortisone – hydrocortisone creams can be highly effective anti-itch medications that can be purchased over the counter, although more potent versions are available via prescription.
- Household items – If you prefer a less scientific bite relief approach, there are a number of items commonly found around the house that could do the trick. Options include rubbing a bar of Ivory soap across the area or applying rubbing alcohol to the area and covering it with Scotch tape.
- Topical solutions – Another option is to directly apply topical solutions to the bite such as nail polish, roll-on underarm deodorant or toothpaste.
- Pastes – Create an anti-itch paste by combining one of the following items with water: baking soda, meat tenderizer, crushed aspirin or Epsom salt.
- Calamine lotion – Calamine lotion is actually a drying agent, so it’s not as effective for relieving itches as some may think. However, some find that the pink color can have a psychologically soothing effect.
- Oils – Essential oils such as lavender oil, witch hazel and cedar oil may work for certain individuals, although they should not be applied on young children and pre-teens.
- Fresh fruit – Try cutting open a lemon or lime and rubbing it directly on the bite. Rubbing the inside of a banana peel may also do the job.
- Tough it out – If you can bear the itching, you can simply decide to let it subside on its own, keeping in mind that it should only last a day or two at most.