Mosquito bite treatment

Mosquito bites are as annoying as anything. You don’t know you’ve been bitten until you are aware of that itchy red lump that literally ‘bugs’ the hell out of you. So what can you do to end the itchiness torment?

Traditional Mosquito Bite Treatment

Whatever you do and as tempting as it may be, don’t scratch! Scratching an insect bite will only bring temporary relief and the itching will come back soon after with a vengeance.

Scratching may also cause inflammation and break the skin, exposing it to bacteria and, more seriously, causing an infection such as cellulitis.

If you have an itchy mosquito bite, wash it well with soap and water to prevent infection and pat dry.

Reduce any swelling by making a cold compress. Dip a clean cloth in ice-cold water and place it over the affected area. Or, place an ice pack or ice wrapped in a cloth on the bite every 10 minutes until the itching and swelling subsides.

Apply an over-the-counter cream or spray designed for insect bite relief to reduce itching. Re-apply as needed.

That is the conventional way to treat a not-so-serious annoying insect bite. But maybe you are interested in other less conventional ways? If so then read on.

Alternative Mosquito Bite Treatment Methods

Did you know there are a multitude of ways to treat mosquito bites, other than getting the old Savlon out from the back of your medicine cupboard?

You can even make your mosquito bite home remedies with ingredients you have in your kitchen cupboards!

Home Remedies

Maybe try these options if you have the time and are fresh out of insect bite cream.

  • Meat tenderiser paste: Mix 1 teaspoon of dry meat tenderiser with 1 teaspoon of water to make a paste and dab it on the bite. Leave the paste on the bite for thirty minutes before rinsing clean. Meat tenderiser contains enzymes which help draw toxins out of the skin.
  • Baking soda: Mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water and apply it to the mosquito bite to soothe the itching.

Electronic Bite Relief

An electric mosquito bite relief device is not as bad as it sounds. Your hair is not going to stand on end. It is pain-free and harmless. Nowadays there are a fair few such devices on the market.

So how do they work? With each click, the device emits a small electric charge, which breaks down/prevents the build-up of histamine in the body that causes itching and swelling. (Note: may not be suitable if you have a pacemaker fitted or are pregnant, check the label.)

Use the clicker to click as many times as necessary on the bite, and the itching subsides.

Essential Oils

Lavender oil and tea tree oil can be applied undiluted to mosquito bites to relieve itching. (Most other essential oils must be diluted in carrier oil before they can be safely applied to the skin.) Diluted eucalyptus oil is also helpful for treating bites.

Related: Read more about essential oils and aromatherapy.

If your mosquito bite is uncomfortable, make a cold compress with lavender and German chamomile essential oils to help reduce swelling and inflammation, as follows:

  • Fill a bowl with very cold water (add ice cubes if you like).
  • Sprinkle about 3 drops of lavender oil and 3 drops of German chamomile essential oil onto the water – the oil will spread out in a fine film on the water’s surface.
  • Dip a clean flannel lightly into the water and let it soak up some oil.
  • Wring the flannel out to get rid of excess water and place it over the mosquito bite.
  • Repeat as necessary.

Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathic remedies may help reduce symptoms of insect bites, although their effectiveness is unclear. For example:

  • Apis mellifica: If taken soon after you’ve been bitten, Apis mellifica may quickly help reduce swelling and burning.
  • Ledum: Often used in homeopathy as a remedy for mosquito bites, Ledum may reduce swelling if the affected area feels cold.
  • Staphysagria: Staphysagria may relieve symptoms of large mosquito bites with severe itching.

Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements can help support your immune system, control inflammation and reduce the severity of allergic reactions to mosquito bites. For example:

  • Grape seed extract: Grape seed extract is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may help reduce inflammation.
  • Quercetin: Quercetin is a bioflavanoid and an antioxidant. It may help minimise allergic reactions to insect bites.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is anti-inflammatory and helps support your immune system. It may help reduce the toxicity of insect bites.

Inflamed Mosquito Bites

If you are particularly sensitive to mosquito bites, you may endure more intense itching and inflammation than most people experience.

An over-the-counter medicine can control your body’s response and reduce itchy swelling. A sedative antihistamine may help you sleep if the itching is so severe it keeps you awake.

If insect bites are inflamed, you can take paracetamol or ibuprofen. You may also try a low-dose over-the-counter corticosteroid cream, such as hydrocortisone cream, to reduce inflammation.

Most people can safely and easily treat mosquito bites at home. It is unnecessary to see a doctor if you have been bitten, unless the bite is painful, blistering, weeping or continues to redden and swell.

If you or your child has any kind of insect bite that worries you, see a doctor or pharmacist immediately.

It is better to avoid mosquito bites in the first place. Find out more about mosquito repellents.

More information: Insect bites and stings (NHS)

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Mosquito bite treatment

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