If you make it through summer without a single mosquito bite, consider yourself one of the luckiest people in the world. Mosquitos are a nuisance, even if they don’t all spread disease. They are attracted to human blood and they leave a bump, which may not appear until hours later. Most of the time, these bites are very itchy, especially if you are more sensitive to mosquitos.
Mosquitos require protein and iron, which they get from human blood, in order to produce eggs. They lay eggs in stagnant water, where the eggs undergo various stages of development. They finally become adult mosquitos and begin to bite people to repeat the cycle. Mosquitos can carry harmful diseases, but the likelihood of contracting one will depend on where you reside. Some of the most common diseases that mosquitos spread include:
- Dengue fever
- Yellow fever
- West Nile virus
- Zika virus
The mosquito bite itself is often very annoying and itchy, so the natural instinct is to scratch it. By scratching the bite, you increase the risk of breaking skin, which makes the bite more susceptible to bacteria. When a mosquito bites you, use the following home remedies to provide relief.
From sunburn relief to accelerated wound healing, it seems that aloe vera can do no wrong. It exhibits anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that work to calm redness and itchiness, especially from mosquito bites. If you have access to an aloe plant, the fresh gel from inside an aloe leaf will have the most benefits. Apply it to the mosquito bite and allow it to dry. Apply two to three times a day for best results.
Baking soda has myriad uses outside the kitchen. Not only can you bake with it, but you can also use it to clean drains. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), baking soda may be able to provide relief from mosquito bites. All you have to do is make a baking soda paste by mixing one tablespoon of baking soda with water. Ideally, you want a thicker paste so it doesn’t slide off your skin. Apply it to the mosquito bite and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing. If this paste irritates your skin, stop this treatment.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Applying a drop or two of apple cider vinegar on your mosquito bite may be very effective at relieving itchiness or burning. It helps to disinfect the bite, which is especially important if you’ve been scratching it nonstop. Should you require more relief, try to soak a washcloth in a solution of cold water and apple cider vinegar for a few minutes. Wring out the cloth and then apply it to the bite. If you have a lot of mosquito bites, dilute two cups of apple cider vinegar in a tepid bath and soak in it for 20 minutes. A hot bath can make itching worse, so don’t soak in hot water.
When a mosquito bites you, it’s time for thyme! Fresh thyme leaves exhibit antibacterial properties, which may help reduce the risk of infection and itchiness around a mosquito bite. Pluck fresh thyme leaves and mince them, or smash them into a paste with a mortar and pestle. Apply the minced or crushed leaves to the bite and let sit for 10 minutes. Alternatively, boil a cup or two of water and pour it over a bundle of fresh thyme. Remove the thyme from the water once it cools. Dip a washcloth into the thyme-infused water and apply it to the bites for a couple minutes.
Closely related to the mint plant, lemon balm is a centuries-old herb that you can use to remedy numerous symptoms. It works to soothe an upset stomach, but it may also relieve itching for people with mosquito bites or cold sores. Apply finely chopped lemon balm leaves directly to the mosquito bite, or you can purchase lemon balm cream and apply that to the bite. The tannins, in addition to it being a natural astringent, and polyphenols help to ease inflammation and accelerate the healing process.
A 2016 study found that peppermint oil may relieve itching from long-term causes, including liver conditions and diabetes. In theory, health experts believe that it may alleviate temporary itching, for example, from a mosquito bite. It should also be noted that peppermint oil is an age-old remedy that people used to relieve itching. Mix a few drops of peppermint oil in one ounce of carrier oil. Coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, or olive oil are excellent carrier oils to use. Do not apply undiluted peppermint oil directly on the skin! Apply the oil solution to the bites and reapply as needed.