Spending time outdoors is quality family bonding time, with a healthy dose of physical activity and nature exploration. However, the fun can be easily spoil with itchy and swollen mosquito bites. Mosquitoes feed on human and animal blood, starting from puncturing the skin with their thin and sharp mouthparts. As they suck the blood, saliva is deposited and a swelling results from the reaction of the body with the saliva.
Generally, mosquito bites cause itchiness and swelling, but in certain individuals, it may result in skin rash and infection (particularly with scratching). As mosquito bites usually resolve on its own, the key thing to do is not to scratch! Especially for children who may find it hard to control, here are 10 remedies to bring about quick itch relief.
Relieving the itch is the first line of action and ice in the fridge comes in handy. The cold limits the spread of skin inflammation and numbness from the cold offers immediate itch relief. You can use an ice pack or wrap some ice in a cloth and hold it over the affected area for ten minutes. You can also hold a cold bottle of water over it if you can’t find ice when outside.
Lemon has anti-inflammatory and anesthetic properties that can help bring down the swelling and offer itch relief. Slice the lemon and rub the inside against the skin. You can also squeeze lemon juice and apply on to the mosquito bitten area. Lemon scent is also known to ward off mosquitoes!
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a common ingredient in creams as it has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and the coolness in an aloe vera gel can provide pain and itch relief. You can also chill the aloe vera gel so that when applied over the mosquito bite, the skin area is temporarily numbed and your child won’t feel so itchy. Meanwhile, the aloe vera can also reduce the swelling.
4. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that can help to reduce the swelling and relieve the itch. Dab a little on cotton swab, apply to skin and it can disinfect the area and reduce the skin inflammation. If your child has sensitive skin, you can dilute the oil before applying.
You can apply toothpaste on the skin for itch relief. Toothpaste contains ingredients like menthol, peppermint or baking soda that relieve itch and reduce swelling. The tooth paste can be left on the skin and washed off when the skin no longer feels itchy.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
A small amount of vinegar can be applied to the affected skin area and if there are many bites on the body, vinegar can be diluted and used to wash a larger skin surface . Apple cider vinegar can help to prevent infection and kill the germs. Some also uses the vinegar as an insect repellent.
7. Tea bags
Green tea has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and the used green tea bags can be pressed against the affected skin. Cooled green tea can also be applied on the skin directly. Green tea act as an astringent and helps to reduce swelling. Chilled used tea bags also provide itch relief.
8. Raw Honey
Honey has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that can reduce swelling and prevent infection. It also offer itch relief.
Alcohol relieves itch when the evaporation after application on skin creates a cooling sensation. Alcohol also act as a disinfectant, thus preventing infection.
10. Antihistamines and Mild Hydrocortisone Cream
Above are the natural remedies and there is also the option of antihistamine and mild hydrocortisone cream. Antihistamines act to block the release of histamines during an allergic reaction, thereby reducing swelling and itch. There are sedating and non-sedating types and be sure to check the age limit and appropriate dosage. A mild corticosteroid cream can quickly reduce inflammation, itch and redness. Be sure that you are using one that is of low potency and suitable for your child.
The best action for mosquito bites is not to get them in the first place! Use insect repellent and wear socks, light-colored, long sleeved shirts and long pants.