Mosquito bites and the itching, swelling and rashes that accompany them are particularly hard to deal with. They can lead to a number of ailments, aside from occasional skin infections and allergies. Mosquitoes are known carriers of malaria, dengue fever and encephalitis.
We’ve comprised an extensive list of proven cures for mosquito bites to help you better deal with this pesky issue.
Mosquito Bites: Why and When?
Before going into the treatment part itself, let’s take a moment and understand what a mosquito bite actually is.
It’s actually female mosquitos that cause the swelling and the itching because they are the only ones capable of actually biting. They use piercing mouthparts to leech the host’s blood. The nourishment obtained from a person’s blood is used for the production of mosquito eggs. The bite itself does not cause the swelling and the itching.
However, during the feeding process, a mosquito injects saliva into the host. That salvia is responsible for the mosquito bite symptoms. Mosquito bite symptoms include:
- The appearance of a bump immediately after the bite
- Swelling around the bite
- Small blisters (instead of the bumps)
- Dark spots, similar to bruises
When seeking relief, you’re most likely hoping to get rid of the itching that mosquito bites causes. There are certain drugs that ensure the quick, temporary relief of itching:
Hydrocortisone cream 1%
This over-the-counter product will most likely reduce itching and swelling due to its anti-inflammatory effect. As opposed to anesthetics (which we will discuss below), hydrocortisone cream takes longer to take effect.
Xylocaine Gel 2%
This local anesthetic offers immediate relief from both pain and itching.
A local anti-inflammatory that can be used for insect stings. Ibuprofen gel usually has a quick onset.
Its purpose is that of relieving pain and itching caused by poison ivy plants, sunburns, rashes or poison oak. Yet calamine lotion works perfectly in the case of insect bites.
In the case of allergies or unbearable itching, you may consider oral antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine, loratadine or cetirizine.
Epi-pen in the Case of Anaphylaxis
If you have had previous episodes of anaphylaxis, you’ll most certainly carry an epi-pen with you. Be sure to discuss allergies with your doctor, who will tell you if you need to carry an epi-pen or not.
Home Remedies for Mosquito Bites
A number of household items can be used to alleviate the itching and pain caused by mosquito bites:
Placing ice cubes directly on your mosquito bites will provide instant relief. Hold the ice on the affected area for 10-15 minutes. If ice is unavailable, cold water will do as well.
Baking Soda Paste
Combine a bit of baking soda and water and apply it on the affected area.
The acidity of the lemons can also prove effective in reducing the itching and inflammation. Simply rub lemon on the affected area.
Garlic is also an excellent home remedy for mosquito bites because of its beneficial components. Simply apply the garlic onto the skin and wash it off after a couple of minutes.
Tea lovers can also alleviate their itching by applying warm tea bags on the bite. They work by drawing fluid out of the mosquito bite. The warmth also helps reduce swelling.
Because of its slight acidic levels, vinegar is also a great home remedy for mosquito bites.
Basil and Mint
Certain spices, such as mint and basil, contain soothing chemicals, such as camphor. When applied on the skin, they create a cool feeling.
This miracle food has a multitude of applications, including that of alleviating mosquito bites. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it reduces swelling and itching.
The breakfast of champions! Oatmeal can also be used to reduce itching due to its anti-irritant compounds. Simply combine it with water and apply the paste on the affected area.
Many are convinced that Aloe Vera is truly a godsend. In all honesty, it works wonders, even in the case of mosquito bites. Clinical studies have suggested that Aloe Vera can even be used to treat constipation, herpes and psoriasis. It can also heal minor wounds and bug bites (because of its anti-inflammatory properties). Simply cut open a plant and apply the gel-like substance on the irritated area.
You can always use a banana peel to help alleviate the itching. There are multiple oils and compounds that bananas contain. Simply apply the banana peel on the affected area.
Though not as effective as garlic, onion can prove effective against itching mosquito bites when applied onto skin.
Certain oils, including tea tree, mint, neem, rosemary, lavender, cedar or hazel can be used to reduce swelling and itching. Ideally, dilute the oil with water before applying it onto the skin.
This is an old grandmother’s trick: use finely ground salt (Himalayan works perfectly, though regular, iodized salt is also fine) and mix it with a bit of water before applying it on the affected area.
This herb is known for its soothing and moisturizing properties. If you have some lying in the kitchen, be sure to use it.
Cinnamon or Cinnamon Oil
Cinnamon is a natural mosquito repellant, however, it can also work to alleviate bites due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Most people store cucumbers in the fridge, so applying the cold cucumber slices onto the affected area has a soothing effect in itself. However, cucumbers also are known to reduce swelling.
Another particularly soothing herb is chamomile. If you don’ have any, search your cabinets for tea bags. Because of its many bioflavonoids, including luteolin and quercetin, chamomile can prove helpful.
Most of us have alcohol in our bathroom cabinets. Rub some on the affected area. Aside from the initial relief, you will have also efficiently disinfected the area.
The menthol and baking soda found in toothpaste can provide long periods of relief if applied on the affected area.
Vick’s Vapor Rub
Somewhat unorthodox, granted, but applying Vapor Rub on a mosquito bite will also provide relief as it contains camphor oil and menthol.
Now, the ideal situation is not getting bitten in the first place. There are a number of proved methods, including bed nets, aerosol insecticides, mosquito coils, mosquito bracelets, and repellent. Whether you choose natural mosquito repellants or commercial ones, candles or other products is up to you.