Last summer, I wrote a post here on the blog with tips for avoiding bug bites. But we all know that mosquitoes and other bite-y insects have a mind of their own. Sometimes, even if you did all the right things to avoid getting bitten, you end up with a hot, painful, itchy bug bite that threatens to drive you crazy!
Related: 10 Ways To Bug-Proof Your Summer
I’ve gotten a lot of great ideas from my readers over the years, so when I decided that I wanted to do a post about ways to treat bug bites, I knew just what to do! I clicked over to the One Good Thing By Jillee page on Facebook and asked a simple question: “What’s the best way to get mosquito bites to stop itching?” And just as I suspected, you guys were were full to bursting with good ideas! :-)
That Facebook post received over 350 suggestions of ways to take care of a bug bite. And while I’d love to feature every single response in this blog post, I think we’d be here all day! So I went ahead and distilled the responses down to an easily digestible Top 10 list. Next time you’re dealing with a pesky bug bite, give one of these methods a try!
1. Essential Oils
Many essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties, including melaleuca, eucalyptus, and lavender oil. Apply a drop of one of these oils to a bug bite to help reduce pain, itching, and swelling.
2. Hydrocortisone Cream
Hydrocortisone has a strong anti-inflammatory effect, which is key when dealing with an itchy bug bite. Apply a hydrocortisone cream to a bug bite to reduce swelling and keep the itchy feeling under control.
3. Rubbing Alcohol
If you are really limited on first-aid supplies, rubbing alcohol can help cool the itch temporarily. Dab a bit of rubbing alcohol onto a bug bite, and the quick evaporation of the alcohol will leave behind a pleasantly cool sensation. It can be a great hold-over cure until you can make it to the pharmacy!
Histamines are your body’s defense against potential allergens. They try to eliminate allergens from your body by causing sneezing, water-y eyes, and itchy skin. An antihistamine like Benadryl or Claritin can help with bug bites by blocking histamine action in your body, which will reduce swelling and itching.
5. Pain Relief Cream
Plenty of commenters mentioned pain-relieving creams as their go-to method for treating a bug bite. Many different products were mentioned, but a few of the more popular ones were AfterBite, Resinol, and Gold Bond with Lidocaine. Or you can make your own by following the instructions at the link below!
6. Hemorrhoid Cream
Hemorrhoid cream helps reduce itching, swelling, and burning, which makes it great for bug bites. Dab a bit of hemorrhoid cream onto your bug bite for quick relief.
Basil leaves are packed with chemical compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, and the essential oils inside the leaves produce a nice cooling effect. Reap the benefits of the anti-inflammatory and cooling action to help soothe a bug bit. Just crush a basil leave between your fingers to release the essential oils inside, then rub the crushed leaf on the affected area.
8. Hot Water
Plain old hot water (or the heat from a hair dryer) can effectively curb the itch of a bug bite, surprisingly enough! The itchy sensation of a bug bite is caused by the nerves in your skin, but when you run hot water or air over the area, the nerves get “overloaded” by the intensity of the heat, and the itchy feeling goes away (temporarily, of course).
This process of “overloading” your nerves works much the same way that scratching a bug bite does. Hot water can be a better alternative because there’s less risk of tearing or damaging your skin. Make sure the water isn’t TOO hot to avoid getting burned!
I couldn’t find very many details about how this one works, but many people swear by antiperspirant as a quick and easy way to treat a bug bite! Some people suggest the aluminum salts in the antiperspirant are the key to stopping the itch. However it works, a lot of people swear by it!
10. Vitamin B1
Some readers suggested that taking vitamin B1 supplements can help deter mosquitos from wanting to bite you in the first place. I’m not a doctor or a medical researcher, so I can’t verify this claim, but I thought I’d put it out there as an interesting possibility!