Top Natural Remedies For Healing Bug Bites
After being locked down for months, many of us are eager to be outdoors and enjoy summer as usual. Unfortunately, insects don’t seem to know they’re unwelcome at our gatherings. Apparently, mosquitos enjoy a good waterfront retreat as much as we do, and slower-moving fleas, spiders, and ants just show up unannounced and crash the party.
Raise your hand if this sounds familiar. You head to the lake or river with your sunscreen and friends for a nice weekend, only to spend your nights itching from head to toe thanks to nasty bug bites. While insects abound year-round, Melissa Haloossim, Board Certified Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Director/Co-Founder of Skin Thesis® explains that, “Insect bites are more common during the summer because people tend to be outside more.” Flea and spider bites are typical as are bee stings, so what’s an itch-sufferer to do?
Traditional Pain And Itch Relief
Despite the discomfort associated with bug bites or bee stings, there is no cure-all for treating them, so tackle one symptom at a time. If you’re dealing with a painful bee sting, oral pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help. Using an ice pack periodically can reduce swelling and applying hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion will stop the itching. Antihistamines, like Benadryl, also calm itching, but be sure to follow the directions.
Natural Remedies Worth Trying
Apple Cider – Apple cider has been praised for its ability to calm inflammation, but UCLA Associate Clinical Professor, M.D., and F.A.A.D. Glynis Ablon cautions that, “It can burn the skin if you’ve scratched the bug bite or have any broken skin.”
Aspirin or Baking Soda Paste – If you don’t want to take pain medication orally, you can also make a paste with one. Simply combine ground aspirin or baking soda with a little water, taking care to keep the consistency thick so it won’t drip, and apply it to the bite a few times a day.
Aloe Vera – Most people think of aloe vera when sunburn is the problem, but it can offer relief from bug bites as well. Haloossim and Ablon are both big fans of aloe vera, especially for its anti-inflammatory properties. Make sure to check the ingredients as some formulations contain alcohol, which can irritate the skin.
Beautytap Advisors (aestheticians, facialists, makeup artists, and beauty professionals) recommend this instantly skin-soothing mist.
Essential Oils – Many people report that essential oils, especially a two-layer combination of lavender and peppermint, calms the pain and itch associated with bug bites. According to Dr. Ablon, “You need to be careful and should avoid putting pure oil on a bite as it can make things worse. If you want to try chamomile or lemongrass [essential oils], which have known anti-inflammatory properties, make sure to dilute them significantly with [a carrier oil like] coconut.”
Beautytap Advisors (aestheticians, facialists, makeup artists, and beauty professionals) recommend this healing oil to soothe skin.
Know When to Seek Medical Help
In some cases, topical corticosteroid creams may be necessary. For most bug bites, though, home remedies make sense. Tick bites, however, can lead to Lyme disease, so visit the CDC’s website to learn more about ticks if you live and/or play in areas where they coexist. And if you’re experiencing dizziness or a severe allergic reaction, such as a swollen tongue, medical attention is recommended. “Significant pain or swelling and discoloration” should also be taken seriously, Ablon says. “I tell patients to mark the borders of the bite with a Sharpie. If the bite enlarges beyond the borders, see a doctor. There are a few true dermatologic emergencies that include spider bites that can be destructive and even deadly.”