Mosquitoes are notorious for carrying various diseases like West Nile, encephalitis, dengue, and malaria. But for most of us, that recalcitrant itch that can bother you even hours after being bitten by a mosquito seems like a much bigger threat.
Yes, there are ways to prevent being bitten in the first place, but mosquitoes can be pretty resourceful. They have their own ways of hunting down even the slightest bit of exposed skin. For this reason, it may be helpful to arm yourself with some handy-dandy all-natural home remedies that can help you ease that itch.
Rubbing a cube of ice on your skin is a sure-fire way to soothe a mosquito bite. The sudden cold feeling will numb all sensations in the parts of your skin that were bitten. This way, you will automatically be relieved of the itch and any kind of swelling associated with the bite. This will stop you from scratching yourself and making it worse. Studies show that applying anything cold to your skin can bring you relief from any histamine-related itching and scratching – so if you find yourself breaking out into hives, this remedy can come in useful.1
Most toothpastes contain two ingredients – menthol and baking soda.
Menthol (usually in the form of mint or peppermint in toothpastes) has three main properties that make it the perfect remedy for mosquito bites; vasodilation, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.2 3 4 Menthol thus alleviates swelling. Additionally, it stimulates thermoreceptors in your skin that detect changes in the temperature of your skin. However, menthol does not really make your skin cold. Instead, it merely triggers a signal to your brain which will make it interpret the temperature as cold.5 This way, the uncomfortable itchy sensation and feeling of heat around the mosquito bite is significantly relieved.
Each time you feel like itching because of a mosquito or a bug bite, it’s because of an acidic reaction on your skin. The alkaline nature of baking soda makes it useful in neutralizing the pH of your skin and thus, helps in providing relief from itching.
Toothpaste also has an astringent effect on your skin, which helps draw out excess fluids from under your skin. So the next time you get bitten, apply a thin layer of toothpaste on the bite and let it dry. When it starts falling off in flakes upon touching, wash it off with cold water.
3. Baking Soda And Water
As mentioned earlier, sodium bicarbonate or baking soda is mildly alkaline in nature that neutralizes the pH balance of your skin. This ‘buffering effect’ is very effective in quelling inflammation that occurs at the point of the bite, easing the soreness and itching.
Mix some baking soda with a little water to create a paste. Apply this directly to the bitten parts of the skin and let it dry. Rinse off cool water.
Onions are infamous for making you cry, but not when it comes to bug bites. Onions are rich in quercetin, a flavonoid which acts as a powerful natural antioxidant and antihistamine.6 7 This also lends onions excellent anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties that can bring down swelling and your risk of infection.
All you have to do is cut a slice from a medium-sized onion of any kind. Rub this slice directly onto the bitten area for several minutes till the juice is almost absorbed into your skin. Rinse and wash the area well with cool water. This remedy is especially useful when you’re out barbecuing or camping and mosquitoes get in your way of having fun!
Honey is well-known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.8 9 So it isn’t too surprising that this sticky-sweet goodness is effective in treating itchy mosquito bites. This is why it’s such a sought-after ingredient in so many natural balms, lotions, and creams. Opt out of spending money needlessly by dabbing a little raw honey directly on the bite.
6. A Quick Slap Or Pinch
This may seem like we’re endorsing some form of self-injury, but slapping is the quickest way to relieve yourself from itching. Not only is it a greater form of pain, but is also more startling. This is starkly different from the annoying sensation of an itch. Your brain only registers one feeling at a time. By inflicting yourself with a quick slap or a sharp pinch, you’re distracting your brain with a feeling that’s more overwhelming and this will help provide some relief from the itchiness.
|↑1||Bromma, Burkhart, Eckehard Scharein, Ulf Darsow, and Johannes Ring. “Effects of menthol and cold on histamine-induced itch and skin reactions in man.” Neuroscience letters 187, no. 3 (1995): 157-160.|
|↑2||Craighead, Daniel H., and Lacy M. Alexander. “Topical menthol increases cutaneous blood flow.” Microvascular research 107 (2016): 39-45.|
|↑3||Galeotti, Nicoletta, Lorenzo Di Cesare Mannelli, Gabriela Mazzanti, Alessandro Bartolini, and Carla Ghelardini. “Menthol: a natural analgesic compound.” Neuroscience letters 322, no. 3 (2002): 145-148.|
|↑4||Zaia, Mauricio G., Túlio di Orlando Cagnazzo, Karina A. Feitosa, Edson G. Soares, Lúcia H. Faccioli, Silmara M. Allegretti, Ana Afonso, and Fernanda de Freitas Anibal. “Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Menthol and Menthone in Schistosoma mansoni Infection.” Frontiers in pharmacology 7 (2016).|
|↑5||Bharate, Sonali S., and Sandip B. Bharate. “Modulation of thermoreceptor TRPM8 by cooling compounds.” ACS chemical neuroscience 3, no. 4 (2012): 248-267.|
|↑6||Nakayama, Hideki, Nobuaki Tsuge, Hiroshi Sawada, and Yukihito Higashi. “Chronic intake of onion extract containing quercetin improved postprandial endothelial dysfunction in healthy men.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 32, no. 3 (2013): 160-164.|
|↑7||Mlcek, Jiri, Tunde Jurikova, Sona Skrovankova, and Jiri Sochor. “Quercetin and its anti-allergic immune response.” Molecules 21, no. 5 (2016): 623.|
|↑8||Owoyele, Bamidele Victor, Rasheed Olajiire Oladejo, Kayode Ajomale, Rasheedat Omotayo Ahmed, and Abdulrasheed Mustapha. “Analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of honey: the involvement of autonomic receptors.” Metabolic brain disease 29, no. 1 (2014): 167-173.|
|↑9||Mandal, Manisha Deb, and Shyamapada Mandal. “Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine 1, no. 2 (2011): 154-160.|