- Take a Warm Bath
You can sooth irritation caused by mosquito bites by taking a warm bath. Soaking in the bathtub for about 20 minutes offers an easy way to treat bites located on places that are out of reach such as your back.
The addition of essential oils, oatmeal, chickweed tea, or apple cider vinegar to the bathwater will help to alleviate itching even more.
- Meat Tenderizing Powder
Meat tenderizing powder mixed in equal parts of water can make a soothing paste for mosquito bites. Just apply the paste directly on your bites to get fast relief for itchiness.
The active ingredients that make this powder effective on insect bites are bromelain and papain. These enzymes act as natural anti-itch relievers and works quite well on mosquito bites.
Try applying peppermint toothpaste or mouthwash on the insect bite before going to bed. Menthol in the toothpaste or mouthwash will cool down the bites and make them less itchy.
For the best results, only use regular mint flavored toothpaste and avoid the gel-based or colored varieties.
While there are many mouthwash brands in the market, Listerine would be a good choice to soothe mosquito bites besides helping you maintain good oral health.
- Nail Polish
Clear nail polish seals the mosquito bite and works as a shield against infection. It can also provide temporary relief for itchiness.
- Simply apply a thin layer on an itchy welt.
- Let it dry and stay on for about five minutes then peel the nail polish off.
- You can leave the nail polish on the bite for a longer period or reapply after a short while as desired to sooth itchiness.
- Underarm Deodorant
While this may sound like an experimental treatment, underarm deodorant is an itch reliever for mosquito bites. Look for deodorants that contain aluminum chloride. This is the active ingredient responsible for stopping itchiness and swelling that is associated with mosquito bites.
Use the roller on mosquito bites as you would on your underarm. The deodorant’s effect should kick in within a few minutes.
- Baby Powder
Swelling on mosquito bites tends to intensify irritation. Appling baby powder on the bit area will dry out toxins in mosquito saliva, thus alleviating itchiness.
To try this remedy, you will need some baby powder, duct tape and some saran wrap:
- Apply a liberal amount of baby powder on the bite and cover it with saran wrap.
- Use the duct tape to hold the cover in place then leave it overnight.
- It takes about 3 days or less for the mosquito bite to heal when using this treatment.
- Tiger Balm/Vicks Vapor Rub
Tiger Balm and Vicks Vapor Rub are popular topical medications for aches and colds. However, they can also be applied externally on bug bites to erase itching and irritation. Keep in mind, though, that these ointments may cause serious discomfort on open skin. Therefore, avoid them if the bite site is already raw due to previous scratching.
- Relieve the Itchiness Manually
When a mosquito bites, you should avoid scratching the rashes with your nails. This can cause an open sore, which increases the risk of developing staph, strep, and other bacterial infections.
If you can’t help it, try the following mild rubbing techniques to get some relief for itchiness.
- Slapping or Pinching
It may sound ridiculous, but pinching or slapping a mosquito bite actually stops itching temporarily. The brain is programmed to register one feeling at a time. So, the tender pain from pinching or slapping will mask the more irritating itchiness on the mosquito bite.
- Sting The Bite With A Rubber Band
Pull a rubber band back and snap it on the bite. This should numb the nerves and stop itchiness for a short while. Although this isn’t a permanent fix, this method may be worth trying when you want to distract yourself from irritating mosquito bites. However, make sure not to snap the rubber band with too much force as this can end up hurting you even more.
- Scotch Tape
The sticky chemicals on scotch tape can remove the toxins that cause mosquito bites to itch. Just sanitize the irritated area with alcohol or ammonia then tape it. Remove the tape after a few hours. Leaving the scotch tape on the bite for several hours will make itchiness subside almost entirely.
- Draw Around The Welt With A Ballpoint Pen
Instead to scratching vigorously, drawing around the mosquito bite with a ballpoint pen reduces the risk of breaking your skin open. This in turn reduces risk of infection due to excessive scratching. Some people find that this method works great to relieve itchiness on mosquito bites.
OTC (Over-the-Counter) Treatments for Mosquito Bites
- Calamine Lotion And Other Anti-Itch Creams
Calamine lotion is an anti-itch concoction of ferric oxide and zinc oxide. Doctors use it to treat itching caused by insect bites and stings. As such, you can use calamine lotion to soothe irritation on mosquito bites. Alternatively, buy an OTC anti- pruritic cream such as 1%-hydrocortisone, triamcinolone or corticosteroid creams.
If you’re not sure what anti-itch cream would be the best choice, your pharmacist should be able to offer a recommendation based on your specific symptoms.
- Antihistamine Pills
Oral antihistamines are more effective at relieving the itching and swelling that accompanies mosquito bites than topical applications. In most cases, your doctor will prescribe these drugs if you or your child suffers an intense allergic reaction due to mosquito bites.
From least to most sedating, oral antihistamines that treat mosquito bites include Fexofenadine (Allegra), Loratadine (Claritin), Cetrizine (Zyrtec) and Benadryl.
- Aspirin Paste
Aspirin contains salicylic acid, which is an anti-inflammatory ingredient. As such, it can reduce swelling on mosquito bites. Simply crush one pill and add a few drops of water then apply the paste directly on the bite site.
If you’re allergic to aspirin, avoid using it as this might exacerbate irritation on the mosquito bites.
While OTC (over-the-counter) drugs for mosquito bites do not require a doctor’s prescription, they may not be appropriate for everyone. Always read the label instructions and warnings carefully before using any non-prescription drug that claims to treat mosquito bites.
Ways to Prevent Mosquito Bites
Mosquito bites tend to clear up with time and you don’t have to endure itchiness while they last thanks to the home remedies and OTC drugs mentioned above. However, the fact that mosquitoes are vectors of many diseases is even more reason why you should prevent them from biting you and anyone in your home in the first place.
While passing from host to host, some mosquito species transmit life-threatening diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, the west Nile virus, and filariasis. Therefore, you should take measures to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Here are a few tips to put an end or at lease minimize the mosquito bites:
- Eliminate Breeding Places For Mosquitoes Around Your Home Compound
Mosquitoes breed on standing water. In fact, these insects live off entirely on water during the first three stages of their development. Therefore, get rid of all sources of stagnant water around your home to reduce the mosquito population.
Fire pits, flowerpots, buckets, pet dishes, and other objects that hold rainwater should be periodically emptied. You can also reduce stagnant water around your home by unclogging roof gutters, not leaving old tires lying around the yard, overturning unused containers, changing water in birdbaths frequently, and clearing wading pools at least once a week.
If there are small ponds in your yard, stock them with fish so they can eat the mosquito larvae.
- Keep Your Yard and Garden Well-Maintained
Trimming the vegetation and grass around your home will also reduce hiding places for mosquitoes.
- Avoid Being Outside When Mosquitoes Are Most Active
Peak hours for these insects are usually at dusk and dawn. If you must be outside during this time, then use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET, eucalyptus, Picaridin, or oil of lemon. These repellents will make your skin unappealing to mosquitoes.
Alternatively, try not to expose your skin too much by wearing clothing that completely covers your body. Put on floor length pants, long sleeves, socks, closed toe shoes, a scarf, hat, or anything that helps you cover up as much as possible.
You should also choose an outfit that’s lightly colored, as mosquitoes find such hues to be unattractive. Spraying your clothes with mosquito repellent will also add another layer of protection.
- Keep Mosquitoes Out Of Your Home
Seal crevices and holes on door and window screens so that mosquitoes have no way of entering your home.
- Repel Any Mosquitoes That Sneak Into Your Home
You can do this by lighting citronella candles or camphor at night or spraying the house with essential oils from plants such as lemongrass, eucalyptus, mint, lavender, rosemary, holy basil, lemon, and marigold.
Burning some pinion wood or planting red cedar mulch around the house will also help to keep annoying mosquitoes out of your home.
- Other Miscellaneous Methods
- Avoid putting on too much perfume as strong scents tend to attract mosquitoes.
- Another way to prevent mosquito bites is to sleep under a treated mosquito net.
- Taking a daily dose of vitamin B1 can also make you an undesirable target for mosquitoes. According to research, scientists suggest that this vitamin makes the human scent less attractive to mosquitoes.
When to See a Doctor
Sometimes OTC drugs might not work when mosquito bites trigger a severe allergic reaction. If you notice that the itching doesn’t stop and the sores are not healing, consult your doctor for a more potent treatment.
It’s also advisable to set an appointment with your general practitioner when mosquito bites are accompanied by other severe symptoms such as fever, body aches, nausea, and headaches.