10 home remedies to treat mosquito bites
Summertime means outdoor time, especially in a Midwest still shaking off the cabin fever of foot-high snow and polar vortexes. With picnics, beach visits and hikes come the inevitable mosquitoes that just seem to be drawn to some people more than others.
Though an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, you may not want to hear that if you’ve become a smorgasbord for these buzzing vampires. To help ditch that itch, Dr. Greta Braun, family medicine physician with Aurora Health Center in Slinger, says all you need is a quick visit to your medicine cabinet or pantry.
Here, she provides 10 cost-saving, effective itch-relieving home remedies for those pesky bites.
From your medicine cabinet
- Toothpaste. Your daily mouth cleaner can be used for more than beating back tartar. Toothpaste (not the gel) can help reduce mosquito bite itch. Just cover the bite with a dab of the paste and leave it on. Not only will the paste reduce the itch, but letting it dry on the bite will help reduce the swelling. To get the most relief, try peppermint toothpaste, which is an anti-inflammatory, or one with baking soda (more on that below).
- Mouth wash. Toothpaste isn’t the only item from your oral hygiene arsenal that can help with the torment of mosquito bites. Many mouthwashes contain menthol, a mint extract, which is also an ingredient in many pain relievers. Just dab some on with a cotton swab and let the relief — and minty fresh skin — commence.
- Aspirin. An active ingredient in aspirin is acetyl salicylic acid, an anti-inflammatory that can help reduce the swelling and itch caused by mosquito bites. You can either grind up a tablet and create a paste with a few drops of water, or you can wet the bite and hold the tablet to the affected skin.
From your pantry
- Salt. Did you know that this common condiment has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties? As with the aspirin, you can mix a little water with table salt to create a topical paste. Or, if you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean, take a dip in the salty sea waters for some itch relief.
- Baking soda. Again, another common household product that can be used to form a healing paste with just a little water added. Baking soda is an alkaline, so it can help to neutralize the pH of the skin and alleviate the itch.
- Cinnamon and honey. Not just for your toast anymore, a combination of cinnamon and honey can provide quick relief to nasty mosquito bites. Cinnamon has antibacterial and antifungal qualities and can also be an effective mosquito repellent, if you’re venturing back out. Be careful with the use of honey, however, as too much of the sweet substance can have the opposite effect and attract mosquitoes to you.
From your refrigerator
- Lemon or lime. These citrus fruits both contain anti-itch, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, making them a perfect solution for mosquito bites. The juices not only help with the itch, but they will help reduce the chances of infection. A word of caution, however; don’t apply the juices to the skin if you’ll be outdoors in direct sunlight as this can cause blistering.
- Onion. Minced or sliced onion will help reduce the swelling caused by your mosquito bite, as well as sooth the itch. In addition, the strong smell will help to repel further mosquitoes from feasting on you.
- Cucumber. Cooling cucumber slices can provide relief from itch and, when applied cold, provide some benefit to swelling of the bite. Simply apply a slice of the veggie to the bite to soothe the irritation.
- Basil. Fresh basil contains camphor and thymol, two known itch-relievers, as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Crush some of this fresh herb to release the essential oils and apply directly to your bite. It can be an effective mosquito repellant as well.
About the Author
“Hannah Koerner is a Public Affairs Specialist with Advocate Aurora Health. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. In her free time, she enjoys biking, snowshoeing, and cheering on Wisconsin sports teams.”