When insects bite, it’s a saliva they release that causes inflammation, blisters and irritation. Insect bite symptoms vary depending on sensitivity. To the same type of bite, you might have a small, slightly itchy bump that clears in a few days while somebody else will have a more serious reaction including welts that swell to several inches, papular urticaria (small papules that may become infected) or even anaphylaxis (your immune system releases chemicals that cause blood pressure to drop suddenly, airways to narrow, a rapid, weak pulse, or nausea and vomiting).
Whether you’ve been bitten by a mosquito, fly, gnat, bee, hornet, wasp or spider, treating these bites immediately is important especially if you’re susceptible to reactions.
Try these 10 NATURAL REMEDIES FOR ALLEVIATING SYMPTOMS:
1. Ice cube or cold pack. This no-cost remedy for bites is always on hand to quickly grab. Ice numbs the area by constricting blood vessels and helps control swelling by decreasing your body’s release of histamine.
2. Aloe vera gel. You might already have it in your camping arsenal to relieve painful sunburns, but it does double duty against bugs, too. It relieves stings and itching, and contains over 100 active compounds that benefit skin. Get the pure gel from a health store (so pure that it can be taken internally) rather than a cream that has other perfumes/ingredients which may or may not be good for insect bites.
3. Calendula. It’s a common herb in many ointments for good reason! It has great soothing properties, and promotes healing by stimulating your fibroblast cells (vital for wound healing). It also helps to prevent infection if you’ve scratched an itchy bite.
4. Tea bag. Don’t throw them out after using them for tea. Natural tannins in black tea act as an astringent, drawing toxins out of the skin and helping to reduce pain and itching.
5. Chamomile. If you’re more of an herbal tea drinker, you’ll be happy to know that this is the most soothing herb of all, even when applied to the skin, due to its powerful bioflavonoids.
6. Baking soda. Your mother was right about making a paste out of baking soda and either water or apple cider vinegar (which gives it an extra boost). Add just a few drops of water/apple cider vinegar to baking soda, and apply it to bug bites to helps neutralize the pH of an infected area which reduces swelling and itching.
7. Cucumber. You know a common beauty aid to relieve puffy eyes is laying a cucumber slice over closed lids, but the anti-inflammatory effect of its juice is also helpful to soothe skin and reduce swelling from a bug bite.
8. Milk. Another ages-old remedy: dab your skin with milk since its protein is soothing on itchy bites. For a double whammy, add a touch of mint toothpaste to milk; the menthol ingredient creates a cooling sensation on skin that tricks the brain into forgetting about the itching.
9. Lemon juice. Bring extra with you while camping or picnicking so you have plenty left over from dressings and dips to provide relief from itchy bites. It’s also antibacterial and good to relieve sunburn.
10. Lavender. This is one of the most popular essential oils for its calming scent, but it is also soothing and antimicrobial on skin. A few drops of lavender oil can help dull itching or pain. You might want to avoid the face though since some people may experience slight irritation on this sensitive skin.