Published on May 18th, 2015 | by Lynn Fang
5 Home Remedies for Bug Bites
Soothe itchy skin with these five home remedies for bug bites.
As the sun warms the soil for spring, we are beckoned to venture outside and soak up the heat. Flowers blossom, fruits ripen, animals raise their newly born young, and the weather is just right for going out on a hike to enjoy the burgeoning spring wildlife. Along with our adventures outdoors, bug populations are growing too. Mosquitos and midges abound, ready for a taste of our blood.
When bugs do bite, the conventional treatment is to apply a steroid cream to reduce itching, but some people may experience severe side effects with regular steroid use. Before you reach for the closest tube of steroid cream, consider some of these gentle and simple home remedies for bug bites. Many of these remedies can be created with things already in your home, and some would serve well as regular residents in your kitchen medicine cabinet.
Oatmeal is an effective and gentle way to reduce inflammation and itching from bug bites on your skin. An easy and soothing way to receive the benefits of oatmeal is to take an oatmeal bath. Grind 1 cup of oats into a fine powder, using a coffee grinder, blender, or food processor. Draw a warm bath and simply add your cup of ground oats into the bath under the faucet. You can also add milk, lavendar buds, or essential oils to increase the anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties of your bath.
After a visit to a farm, my arms were covered in hundreds of midge bites. Not wanting to slather myself in cortisone everyday, I took daily oatmeal baths that provided tremendous relief from the itching and inflammation of those bug bites.
You can also make a simple oatmeal paste for spot treatment. Mix ground oatmeal with a bit of cool water to form a paste and apply to the skin. Allow the oatmeal to dry slowly and remove once it is completely dry.
Related: Natural Remedies for Poison Oak
2. Essential Oils
Many essential oils can provide relief to burning, itching bug bites on your skin. Lavender is most popularly used, while rose, chamomile, and tea tree oils are also effective. You can apply diluted essential oils directly to the affected area, make a spot soother, or add them to an oatmeal bath. If you do not have oatmeal, just adding essential oils to a warm water bath will work.
To make a spot soother, add 1 drop of the essential oil of your choice into a bowl of cold water. Dip a wash cloth or cotton pad into the water to soak up the essential oil mix. Squeeze gently to remove excess water, and apply to the itchy area. Hold it in place with your hand or cover it in plastic wrap for about an hour. To apply directly, dilute a 2-3 drops of essential oil into 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil.
3. Quick Fix Baking Soda Paste
Baking soda is in abundant and cheap supply, making it an easy and quick fix for a bug itch. Mix 1/4 teaspoon baking soda with cold water to make a paste. Apply to the affected area and repeat as necessary.
You may not have heard much about plantain, but it is a common weed growing in driveways, lawns, parks, and playgrounds. It has been used for centuries in native folk medicine for minor cuts, bruises, and bug bites. All you need to do is pick a fresh leaf of plantain, chew it up well to release the juices inside, and place it onto the affected area. This is known as a fresh leaf poultice – it helps relieve pain, reduce swelling, and increases the healing process.
5. Aloe Vera
Most well known for soothing painful sunburns, aloe vera is also effective in reducing itching and swelling. You can use fresh aloe vera or buy a gel. For fresh aloe vera, gently peel away the outer skin. Mash up the inner gel or simply rub it onto the itchy area. You can also mix in 10-20 drops of essential oil into 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel for an extra soothing rub.
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