Mosquito bites are usually harmless and go away by themselves in a few days, but your immune system responds to proteins present in mosquito saliva that makes them itch like mad! Here are a variety of effective treatments that quickly relieve the intense itching and discomfort.
How to Treat a Mosquito Bite
Whatever you do and as tempting as it may be, don’t scratch! Scratching an insect bite will only bring temporary relief and the itching will come back soon after with a vengeance. Scratching may also cause inflammation and break the skin, exposing it to bacteria and causing an infection such as cellulitis.
If you have an itchy mosquito bite, wash it well with soap and water to prevent infection and pat dry. Reduce any swelling by making a cold compress – dip a clean cloth in ice cold water and place it over the affected area. Or, place an ice pack or ice wrapped in a cloth on the bite every 10 minutes until the itching and swelling subsides.
Apply an over-the-counter antiseptic cream, cooling anaesthetic spray or calamine lotion to reduce itching. A cream with the active ingredient crotamiton, such as Eurax cream, will help relieve severe itching. After Bite Insect Bite Remedy contains ammonia and provides fast relief from itching caused by insect bites.
Home Remedies for Mosquito Bites
You can make your own mosquito bite home remedies with ingredients you have in your kitchen cupboards:
- Meat tenderiser paste: Mix 1 teaspoon of dry meat tenderiser with 1 teaspoon of water to make a paste and dab it on the bite. Leave the paste on the bite for thirty minutes before rinsing clean. Meat tenderiser contains enzymes which help draw toxins out of the skin.
- Baking soda: Mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water and apply it to the mosquito bite to soothe the itching.
Mosquito Bite Zappers
A mosquito bite zapper, such as Care Plus Click-Away After Mosquito Bite, is a small clickable device that provides fast mosquito bite itch relief. With each click, the device emits a safe, small electric shock, which breaks down histamine in the body that causes the itching and swelling. Use the clicker to click five times on the bite and the itching disappears.
Zap-It Mosquito Bite Relief Device works by the rapid expansion and contraction of crystals. Zap It produces a harmless, pain free, low electrical current that prevents the build-up of histamine beneath the skin and stops the mosquito bite from itching and swelling. The zapper can be used as many times as necessary until itching subsides.
Lavender oil and tea tree oil can be applied neat to mosquito bites to relieve itching. (Most other essential oils must be diluted in carrier oil before they can be safely applied to the skin.) Diluted eucalyptus oil is also helpful for treating bites.
If your mosquito bite is uncomfortable, make a cold compress with lavender and German chamomile essential oils to help reduce swelling and inflammation. Fill a bowl with very cold water (add ice cubes if you like). Sprinkle about 3 drops of lavender oil and 3 drops of German chamomile essential oil onto the water – the oil will spread out in a fine film on the water's surface. Dip a clean flannel lightly into the water and let it soak up some oil. Wring the flannel out to get rid of excess water and place it over the mosquito bite. Repeat as necessary.
Homeopathic remedies may help reduce symptoms of insect bites, although their effectiveness is unclear. For example:
- Apis mellifica: If taken soon after you've been bitten, Apis mellifica may quickly help reduce swelling and burning.
- Ledum: Often used in homeopathy as a remedy for mosquito bites, Ledum may reduce swelling if the affected area feels cold.
- Staphysagria: Staphysagria may relieve symptoms of large mosquito bites with severe itching.
Dietary supplements may help support your immune system, control inflammation and reduce the severity of allergic reactions to mosquito bites.
- Grape seed extract: Grape seed extract is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may help reduce inflammation.
- Quercetin: Quercetin is a bioflavanoid and an antioxidant. It may help minimise allergic reactions to insect bites.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is anti-inflammatory and helps support your immune system. It may help reduce the toxicity of insect bites.
Inflamed Mosquito Bites
If you are particularly sensitive to mosquito bites, you may endure more intense itching and inflammation than most people experience. An over-the-counter antihistamine such as diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine maleate, loratadine or cetirizine can help control your body’s response and reduce itchy swelling. A sedative antihistamine may help you sleep if the itching is so severe it keeps you awake.
If insect bites are inflamed, you can take paracetamol or ibuprofen. You may also try a low dose over-the counter corticosteroid cream, such as hydrocortisone cream, to reduce inflammation.
Most people can safely and easily treat mosquito bites at home. It is unnecessary to see a doctor if you have been bitten, unless the bite is painful, blistering, weeping or continues to redden and swell.
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NHS Choices: "Treating Insect Bites and Stings".
University of Maryland Medical Center: "Insect Bites and Stings".