When you think about why a mosquito bite itches, it’s really kind of gross. A mosquito bite itches, after all, because you’re having a localized allergic reaction to the saliva the mosquito injects into you before it bites. So obviously, the first thing you’ll want to do to treat a mosquito bite is try to avoid getting one in the first place!
However, if you do your best to stay away from mosquitoes, make yourself a less appetizing snack by using repellents and still get a bite, there are several things you can use to stop the itch.
The first is to apply ice to the bite. Using a topical antihistamine product can also help stop the itch, as can taking an oral antihistamine product. Oral antihistamines can cause drowsiness, however, so that may not be your best choice.
There are a number of products marketed specifically for relief of insect bites. Be sure to read the product label carefully and follow the directions before applying.
Calamine lotion can also be used to soothe itching skin. This lotion is a well-known remedy for itchy skin, such as the kind that results from poison ivy and chicken pox. Hydrocortisone cream can also help reduce itching.
In addition, there are a number of different preparations you can add to your bath that will soothe your itchy skin. Colloidal oatmeal is one popular choice, but you can also add baking soda or epsom salt to your water to help relieve the itch.
Next, there are a number of traditional home remedies for mosquito bites. One is making a paste from baking soda and water and placing it on the surface of the bite. A paste made from a meat tenderizer that contains the papain enzyme can also help reduce itching and swelling. A paste made from a crushed aspirin and a bit of water is also said to relieve the pain of a mosquito bite. Finally, many people swear that a paste made from garlic salt and water will sting for about five seconds when applied to the bite, but then the itching will be gone for good.
In folklore, there are also a number of home remedies that are recommended for soothing a mosquito bite. One of the most common is tobacco juice – however, if you decide to try this, avoid getting it on your clothing and limit its presence on your skin as it stains. Some people also recommend using a cotton ball to apply apple cider vinegar, ammonia, bleach, honey, and tea tree oil to the skin. In fact, tea tree oil has been demonstrated to have antibacterial properties, as has honey.
Rubbing a slightly dampened bar of ivory soap across the surface of the skin can also reduce itching.
If you need something more than just itch relief and want to numb the bite, try applying a teething gel such as Ora-jel or the lidocaine ointment known as Hurricane Gel to the bit.
Whatever you do, avoid scratching the bite. This causes more histamine to be released – increasing the itching – and can cause the site to become infected.
Mosquito bites are generally annoying, but not dangerous unless you have a true allergy or receive a great number of bites. As with any insect bite, if you notice symptoms of a serious reaction, which include swelling, the development of a rash, wheezing or difficulty breathing, call 911 right away.