It’s mosquito season and I have buffalo sized ones zipping around the backyard as I type this.
Thanks to their first feast on my ankles tonight and an earlier comment from Kim, I was inspired to dig through every tip I had regarding mosquito bites and relief from the itching. Scritch Scratch.
I haven’t tried most of the suggestions below, but I’ll note which ones have worked for me.
Here are more than 40 tips organized in one neat file, each bullet point is a single method:
Quick Comfort From Household Items:
- Rub a bar of soap over the itch. I just tried this (Ivory) and the relief was near instant. I used a dry bar directly on the skin, but I also have notes that you can spritz with water first and then run bar of soap over area–or use a wet bar of soap.
- Place a piece of scotch tape over top; or dab rubbing alcohol or ammonia on the area first then stick on a piece of tape.
- Hot water: Take a shower, or bath, or cover with a compress. As hot as you can stand it without burning you.
- Ice cube, ice pack or very cold water
The quicker you can apply one of the remedies below, the faster the relief. These are topical suggestions, administer directly to the area.
- Nail Polish
- Strong tea mixed with rubbing alcohol
- Toothpaste (works for me)
- Vinegar (full strength or take a hot bath with 2 cups of vinegar added to the tub)
- Underarm deodorant (solid or roll-on)
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Use a tea bag or a cotton ball soaked in tea to dab on skin (make sure to have either choice as hot as you can handle without burning)
Mix these fresh with water (unless otherwise noted) then apply as soon as possible. The consistency should be nice and thick so it won’t run, yet will still stay in place on the affected area. You could also spritz the wound with water then administer grains/powders directly (generously) and rub them in. If in tablet form, crush first before adding liquid.
- Baking Soda (works for me)
- Meat Tenderizer
- Epsom Salt (could also do this as a foot soak if it’s the ankle/foot affected)
- Tums Tablets
- Aspirin – crush then combine with a few drops of rubbing alcohol
Commercial Product Lotions, Creams & Topicals
- Calamine Lotion
- Benadryl Cream
- Vicks VapoRub (works for me)
- Preparation H (works for me)
- Lucas Papaw Ointment
- Tiger Balm
- Bag Balm
- Gold Bond Medicated Cream (or the Gold Bond Medicated Powder)
- Mylanta (heartburn product)
- After Bite
Use full strength or combine with olive oil. Edit: There are concerns about using essential oils on children and pre-teens, especially repeated use.
- Tea Tree
- Witch Hazel (astringent)
*Crush the fresh leaves roughly then apply
- Plantains (Plantago)
*Use fresh fruit & apply directly to skin
- Lemon Juice
- Lemon Slice
- Lime Juice
- Lime Slice
- Banana Peel (rub with the inside of the peel)
Whew! Big List! If I’ve missed your favorite, most effective curative, please add them below.
- If a remedy doesn’t soothe or provide quick comfort, don’t despair. Give it another try, sometimes it will take 2 or 3 applications before it kicks in.
- How long does the itchiness/irritation last? Usually about 3 or 4 days but can be up to a week! If things are unbearable and none of the remedies above provide any lasting respite, taking an antihistamine can help (both adults and children).
- The itch is a reaction from the saliva of the skeeter that it injects into you as it feasts on your blood. There are several dozen different species and you may react to some species bites more than others.
- Too match scratching (especially with dirty fingernails) can actually cause an infection (pus develops, redness surrounding blister, feverish). If a child can’t stop fussing with it and irritating things more, covering with a bandaid will help provide some protection.
- If large swelling occurs (like welts), contact a doctor or pharmacist for suggestions (especially if it’s a child with a strong reaction). It could be an allergy to the skeeter bite. It’s important to watch the throat for swelling, nausea and changes to breathing. Seek professional medical treatment without delay.
Update: You’ll find tips on repelling mosquitoes here.