It happened: you’ve just been bitten by a mosquito. Get ready for swelling, itching - and if you’re like some of us - about a dozen more bites to come. For many – the lucky ones – mosquito bites only result in a mild allergic reaction that goes away in a short period of time. But in some cases, a mosquito bite could lead to the onset of a more serious allergic reaction, or the contraction of a mosquito-borne illness such as Zika, West Nile or encephalitis.
Mosquito Bite Care
So what should you do if you’ve become a tasty morsel for the mosquitoes? Here are some basic dos and don’ts for dealing with mosquito bites:
- Wash the area: Any broken skin could lead to infection or more severe health consequences. Thoroughly washing the area with soap and water can prevent this from occurring. Oatmeal soap can clean the area and also provide some moisture and itch relief.
- Apply anti-itch cream: Applying calamine lotion or an anti-itch product can help to alleviate the discomfort. Hydrocortisone cream, for example, will work to reduce the inflammation around the area.
- Apply ice: Ice will reduce the swelling and alleviate the itching sensation.
- Take an antihistamine: Over-the-counter antihistamines can be effective in combating an allergic reaction resulting from a mosquito bite.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Scratch a Mosquito Bite
For most people, the first reaction is to scratch an itchy mosquito bite. But unfortunately, scratching will only provide temporary relief. What’s more, scratching will actually inflame the area and cause the itching to get worse. You may also increase your chances of infection. If you must do something - tap or slap the bite, which will momentarily pause the itchy feeling.
When to Seek Treatment for Mosquito Bites
A mosquito bite will usually go away in a day or two. However, if the redness, itching and swelling lingers, or you notice signs of infection, you should seek medical treatment. Other more severe symptoms that should not be ignored include fever, headaches and body aches.
What About Home Remedies for Treating Mosquito Bites?
There are many household items that can be used for treating mosquito bites. Here are a few home remedies you can try:
- Spoon: Believe it or not, many people find that applying a warm spoon to the affected area can alleviate the itch and discomfort.
- Onions: The juice from a fresh onion may provide relief — as long as you don’t mind shedding a few tears in the process! Of course, you’ll want to avoid applying this mosquito bite remedy anywhere near your eyes or nose.
- Preparation H: Phenylephrine, the active ingredient in Preparation H that reduces the swelling from hemorrhoids, can also do the same for mosquito bites.
- Lemon or Lime Juice: This antibacterial fluid will clean and provide some itch relief. Just be sure you’re not out in direct sunlight while applying citrus juice – as it will cause you to get sunburn more easily.
- Toothpaste: Some claim that applying toothpaste to the affected area will relieve the itch on contact.
- Baking soda: Baking soda is an alkaline-based product that can neutralize the pH in the skin. This can promote the bite healing process.
- Table salt: Salt offers antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that can provide mosquito bite relief. Combine the salt with a small amount of water to create a paste that can be applied to the affected area.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: You can apply vinegar directly to your spots or mix 2-3 cups into your bathwater. Definitely don’t apply this at the same time as baking soda.
- Basil: Break out the mortar and pestle and crush up some basil leaves. The oils in basil contain chemicals– such as camphor – which will create a cooling feeling when applied to the skin.
- Alcohol: Don’t go running for a gin and tonic, we’re talking about applying rubbing alcohol to clean the area! Although – did you know the gin and tonic was created in the early 19th century to combat and prevent the mosquito-borne illness Malaria? Quinine, the ingredient that fights malaria, was very bitter – so officers in the British East India Tea Company took to adding water, lime, sugar and gin to make the necessary medication more palatable.
Be careful when using any mosquito home remedy, as not everyone may have the same reaction. Always consult your doctor when trying new treatments.
Prevent Mosquito Bites From Occurring in the First Place!
Want to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes? Setting up the new Mosquito Magnet® Patriot Plus trap can help control the mosquito population throughout the summer season. The Mosquito Magnet works by attracting biting female mosquitoes with a combination of CO2 and a lure which mimics the scent of a blood meal. They are then sucked into the trap where they will dehydrate and die within 24 hours. Fewer mosquitoes = fewer mosquito bites! Stay in-the-know about what goes buzz in the night by following Mosquito Magnet on Facebook. Sign up for the Mosquito Magnet Newsletter for discounts and special offers!