Home Remedies For Bug Bites and Stings

8 Home Remedies For Bug Bites

It's the time of year when kids are outside more, which means they're more likely to come home exhausted and bug-bitten. You can deal with exhaustion by putting them to bed, but how can you deal with the itch and welts of bug bites?

Remedies to Stop Itching

For many moms, the hardest thing about bug bites is keeping their kids from scratching them. If you're looking for an over-the-counter treatment, many readers suggest using products like calamine lotion, anti-itch creams, and hydrocortisone creams, but if you'd rather avoid the drugstore, moms say you don't have to look any farther than the kitchen.

  • A baking soda paste. Linda F. remembers trying this remedy on bug bites when she was pregnant and trying to avoid unnecessary chemicals. Sarah H. also uses a baking soda paste to quell the itch of bug bites. Both say to mix baking soda with enough water to make a sticky paste, rub it over the bug bite, and leave it there to dry.
  • Meat tenderizer. Mom KayDee B. says she uses a paste, too, but she makes it out of meat tenderizer and water. She says you don't have to buy an expensive tenderizer, just as long as you can mix it with water to make a paste. Rub it on the bite, and your child is itch-free and ready to (eat) barbecue.
  • Rubbing alcohol or nail polish. OK, so these two remedies are usually in the bathroom, not the kitchen, but moms still say they work. Amy V. says dabbing rubbing alcohol on a mosquito bite as soon as you notice it can keep the itchies at bay, and Jocelyn S. says a little bit of clear nail polish will help, too. One mom named August also uses nail polish, but she says she uses it to keep a bite from "re-opening."

Remedies to Stop Swelling

My kids and I all seem to swell up more than the average person when it comes to bites and stings, so we're always looking for ways to catch the swelling before it gets out of control. Most moms seem to use an over-the-counter preparation, but there are a couple of other ways to go:

  • Ice. One reader, Elfrieda, says not to forget about the power of ice to reduce swelling. She says a bag of ice wrapped in a towel and applied for about 10 minutes not only numbs the bite but also keeps swelling down.
  • Witch hazel. A number of moms mention that wiping bug bites with a cotton ball soaked in witch hazel can help control itching, but one, Jennifer, pointed out that it also helps "shrink" bites. Considering witch-hazel pads are also a common remedy for postpartum hemorrhoids, that makes a lot of sense!

Remedies For Stings and Antiseptic Solutions

Unfortunately, it's not just the biting bugs that are out this time of year; the stinging ones are, too. Moms have a number of different ways to address the unique pain of a sting, getting the stinger out, and trying to avoid a poststing infection.

  • Vinegar. "Vinegar takes away the sting and itch," says mom Cheryl W. She says the stronger the vinegar, the better, and suggests using apple-cider vinegar. Elfrieda recalls her mother applying a towel soaked in vinegar to "neutralize the venom" of bee and wasp stings.

  • Mud. Angela H. says if it does nothing else, applying mud and waiting for it to dry can help draw out the stinger and venom of a bee sting. That's in line with Pam C.'s suggestion of using a beauty mud mask to help with a sting.
  • Banana peels? A couple of moms suggested rubbing banana peels on stings and bites to help reduce the possibility of infection. I have to say I was skeptical until I discovered that there's actually been research that shows the banana peel has antimicrobial properties and high levels of antioxidants. Who knew?

Want to prevent bug bites in the first place? Try this related article: Summer Buggin': How to Keep the Mosquitoes at Bay.

The preceding information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Source: Flickr user Lars Ploughman

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