It is difficult to avoid mosquito bites, especially during the warm, humid weather. Not only do these bites cause itching and scratching, but they can also lead to more serious diseases like Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and malaria.
Fortunately, there are several home remedies for mosquito bites. Let us learn more about the science behind our body’s reaction to mosquito bites and
some of the most effective home remedies for relieving itchy and painful mosquito bites.
Why do mosquitoes bite us?
Mosquitoes bite us to drink human blood. Female mosquitoes need the nutrients of the human blood to make the eggs that they need to reproduce. This is why only female mosquitoes bite people.
Mosquitoes inject a proboscis (the sharp tip of its straw shaped mouth) to draw blood and release saliva that contains anti-clotting agents. If the blood were to clot, the mosquito’s mouth might get stuck.
Why do mosquito bites itch?
When the mosquito injects saliva into a person’s body, the immune system reacts by releasing histamine. Histamine leads to an increase in blood flow and white blood cell count around the area, which causes inflammation and swelling.
Histamine also sends signals to the nerves around the bite, which leads to itching.
So, the itching is not caused by the bite but by our body’s immune reaction to the saliva that the bite leaves behind.
Home remedies for mosquito bites
Aloe vera gel has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and antiseptic agents that help treat mosquito bites. Aloe vera contains over 100 phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, and 30 amino acids that benefit the skin.
These compounds in aloe vera help to reduce pain, swelling, and itching of mosquito bites. It also helps the bite to heal faster.
Just break off a leaf of the plant and apply the gel directly to the bite. You can also store extracted aloe vera gel in the fridge since the cold gel is even more effective in relieving itchiness.
Oats contain 20 unique polyphenols, avenanthramides that have strong antioxidant properties. Oats exhibit anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, and anti-itching properties that help relieve skin irritation (2).
You can mix equal amounts of oatmeal and water and make a paste. Now put this paste in a washcloth and hold it on the irritated skin for 10 minutes. If you have too many bites on your skin, add finely ground oatmeal along with some chamomile to your bath water and soak in it.
Ice is a safe and effective solution for mosquito bite relief. Cold temperature numbs the skin, which provides comfort from itching and pain. Ice also helps to limit the inflammation and swelling.
Hold ice wrapped in a washcloth or an ice pack on the affected area for a few minutes to relieve itching and inflammation of mosquito bites.
Witch hazel is a natural astringent which helps to reduce itching and swelling caused by mosquito bites. It contains tannins which help fight bacteria and heal inflamed skin.
You can apply it directly on to the skin with the help of a cotton ball. You can also mix witch hazel with baking soda to form a paste and apply this paste on to the bug bites.
Lemon has natural anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anesthetic properties, which are very helpful in treating mosquito bites. Applying lemon juice on the bites also helps reduce the chances of developing infections.
Just cut a lemon in half and rub it over the mosquito bite for instant relief.
Raw honey has powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it a popular choice for bug bite remedy. It soothes itchy bites and also prevents infections.
Just apply a little bit of raw honey on the mosquito bite to relieve itching. You can use honey as often as needed till the itching subsides.
While you shouldn’t use baking soda on your skin every day, it can soothe the itching, stinging, and redness associated with mosquito bites. Its alkaline compounds neutralize the skin’s pH balance around the affected area and help relieve soreness and itching.
Mix baking soda with enough water to form a paste. Apply this on the bites for 10 minutes and then wash it off.
Chamomile and white tea are popular remedies for mosquito bites and bee stings. When applied on the skin chamomile tea can reduce inflammation, ease discomfort, and speed up healing (3).
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of white tea make it effective against inflammation (4).
Place a cold tea bag on the mosquito bite to soothe the itching associated with bug bites.
Garlic is known to reduce swelling and soothe the itch associated with mosquito bites. It is also useful in preventing mosquito bites in the first place. Mosquitoes can’t stand the smell of garlic so you can consume a garlic-filled meal before going outdoors.
Applying garlic directly on a mosquito bite may cause burning or stinging, so you can mix minced garlic with coconut oil and use it on the bite. Leave this mixture on for a few minutes and then wash it off.
Neem oil contains natural antihistamines which help soothe and calm mosquito bites and also repel mosquitoes. According to the Journal of Insect Science, when mosquito larvae are exposed to powdered neem leaf, they die within a day (5).
Neem oil also effective in preventing skin infections that may occur when you scratch the mosquito bite too much.
11. Thyme leaves
Thyme contains antiseptic compounds like caryophyllene, and camphene and thymol, which guard wounds against infections and speed up healing. These properties of thyme reduce the risk of irritating and infecting the skin around a mosquito bite.
Mince the leaves of thyme and apply them directly on the mosquito bite for relief. You can also add thyme sprigs to boiling water and let them steep till the water has cooled.
Now dip a washcloth in this thyme-infused water and place it on the mosquito bites for relief from itching.
ACV has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that make it an effective solution for soothing mosquito bites and preventing infections. The vinegar helps to reduce the stinging and burning sensations associated with mosquito bites.
Soak cotton ACV and apply it on the bites. If you have many bites, add two cups of ACV to warm bath water and soak in it for 15 minutes.
Basil has powerful anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties which help to soothe itchy and inflamed skin. It contains eugenol, which helps relieve itchy skin.
You can mince basil leaves and apply the paste on the itchy skin. Alternatively, add half an ounce of dried basil leaves to two cups of boiling water and steep till it cools down. Now dip a washcloth in this water and apply over the mosquito bites.
14. Coconut oil
The anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil provide relief from the itchiness of mosquito bites. When you apply coconut oil to the bug bites, it forms a thin layer on the skin surface and prevents any germs from entering the body through the bite.
Apply some coconut oil on the bite area directly.
15. Essential oils
Certain essential oils can be quite an effective treatment for itchy and painful mosquito bites. These oils target inflammation and itchiness and reduce the temptation to scratch, which helps to prevent infections. Some of the essential oils that help reduce the itchiness of bites are:
- Peppermint oil: Peppermint oil creates a cooling sensation on the skin, which helps reduce itching and stinging of mosquito bites.
- Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil acts as a natural antihistamine which helps reduce swelling and itchiness.
- Lemongrass oil: This oil reduces inflammation and makes bites less painful.
- Lavender oil: The calming effect of lavender oil helps reduce the pain of mosquito bites.
Ways to prevent mosquito bites
While you can follow the above-given home remedies to reduce the itchiness of mosquito bites, you can also follow some simple steps to avoid these bites.
1. Eliminate standing water
Standing water around your house can become breeding ground for mosquitoes. So, eliminate standing water from pools and puddles around the house. Unclog roof gutters, empty kids pools, and store unused pots, and container upside down.
2. Essential oils
Essential oils make excellent repellents. Lemon eucalyptus oil, catnip oil, peppermint oil, and lemongrass oil are some of the best essential oils for preventing mosquito bites.
3. Healthy diet
Eating healthy food helps prevent mosquito bites. Eat a diet which is rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
4. Use a fan
Mosquitoes are bad fliers. If you want to sit outside on a summer day, use an electric fan to keep the mosquitoes away.
Mosquitoes can be a nuisance during summer months. Not only can they cause itchy bites, but they can also lead to illnesses like malaria, Zika, and dengue.
You can reduce the itchiness and pain of the bites through various home remedies. Honey, aloe vera, witch hazel, lemon, coconut oil, and ice can be applied to the skin.
To avoid mosquito bites, you must eliminate standing water from around your home and use essential oils on your skin as repellents.