Based on my last article about keeping the bugs away the natural way, hopefully we are all prepared with the knowledge and tools to help us avoid those dreaded insect bites! But what do we do if we do get caught off guard and get bit? Luckily, there are many natural remedies for reducing the inflammation, itchiness, and the overall discomfort of a bite! Many of these remedies you’ll already have handy in your home!
Moving from California to the Philippines has definitely given me many experiences, including but not limited to a huge increase of mosquito bites. Many of the following remedies I have tried, and others have been recommended:
1. Baking Soda Paste: Mix baking soda with water into a paste and apply onto the bites. This should stop the itching and relieve discomfort.
2. Hot Water: On a cotton pad or small towel, run hot water (careful not to burn yourself, I really go overboard on this one) and place onto the bite. Repeat. The heat will confuse the nerves to relieve the itch for at least a couple of hours.
3. Lavender: The stuff works to repel bugs and to relieve bites. Mix a tablespoon of lavender essential oil with two tablespoons of a base oil (vegetable, coconut, olive, etc.). Rub onto bite. Because this oil is an antiseptic, it will relieve the itch and inflammation.
4. Toothpaste: Rubbing just a bit of toothpaste on the bite will begin to dry out and relieve irritation.
5. Mouthwash: Apply mouthwash onto a cotton ball and hold against the bite. This will provide itch relief and a cool soothing feeling.
6. Raw Onion: Cut open a raw onion and rub onto the bite. Onions contain quercetin, a naturally occurring anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine which has even been recognized to help hay-fever suffers!
7. Tiger Balm (or other muscle rub): This was first recommended to me in the Philippines, and I thought there was some kind of language barrier confusion. I tried it anyway and found it to be cooling and really helpful in relieving the itch. Many of the ingredients (camphor, menthol, mint oil) have been known to have cooling anti-itch properties.
8. Oatmeal: Oatmeal to the natural-remedy rescue once again (as previously mentioned in my sunburn cure article )! You can make a paste out of oatmeal by soaking a tablespoon of oatmeal in water, and let sit until it has a pasty consistency. This mixture will help draw out toxins as well as soothe.
9. Aloe Vera Gel: Apply onto bite to soothe the itching, decrease swelling, and to provide a small protection against infections. Use the pure and natural stuff to get the best results.
10. Meat Tenderizer Powder: Saved the strangest for last. Meat tenderizer contains an enzyme, Papain, that breaks down the proteins in insect venom. Making a paste out of meat tenderizer and water will help soothe any pain.
It’s important to remember that every body is different! If one remedy doesn’t work for you, try again. Sometimes it takes once or twice for a remedy to kick in. If it still doesn’t work, you can wash the infected area and try another remedy.
If you experience an allergic reaction, nausea, vomiting, fever, or any other extreme reaction, don’t hesitate to call a doctor! Especially if you’re in an area where poisonous insects are prevalent!
Bailey, M. (2010, August 1). Body Buzz: Beat Bug Bites, Five-Minute Pedicure and More!. Dance Spirit Magazine. Retrieved August 19, 2011, from www.dancespirit.com/blogs/264
Hayes, S. (2009). Best bug relief: prevent, treat, and heal backyard bites and stings with these all-natural remedies . Alternative Health, 39(7). Retrieved August 19, 2011, from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0NAH/is_7_39/ai_n32102992/
Onion health benefits. (n.d.). British Onions. Retrieved August 22, 2011, from http://www.onions.org.uk/about-onions/onion-health.asp
Mosquito Bite Treatment; natural home remedies that have proven to work. (n.d.). Natural Skin Care and home remedies. Natural Beauty with a smile!. Retrieved August 20, 2011, from http://www.natural-homeremedies-for-life.com/mosquito-bite-treatment.html
Reviewed August 24, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith