I must be the single tastiest treat out there to mosquitos because every time I so much as attempt to go outside during twilight, I end up a feast for the creatures. Just this past weekend on Father's Day, my family and I took my dog out for a walk at sunset. It was a gorgeous way to end a day spent at the beach and barbecuing. However, during that 20-minute walk, I ended up with four bites on the back of my legs and they still itch pretty badly four days later. Because I'm such a mosquito magnet, I need all the remedies for mosquito bites that exist.
As it turns out, some of us are simply more prone to getting bitten than others. According to Smithsonian, people with Type O blood, bigger people, people who sweat a lot, people who work out, and people who have a specific type of bacteria on their skin are more likely to be a mosquito delicacy. Also, if you drink beer or if you're pregnant? You're basically toast. Scientists and doctors have yet to come up with a cure for the itchy bumps, but over the years, many people have found more unorthodox means of getting the itch out.
1. Traditional Creams & Sticks
2. Oatmeal Baths
Jessica Wu, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, told Everyday Health that a cool oatmeal bath can ease the pain and itching caused by mosquito bites. That means plain oatmeal, you guys. We won't discuss the time my husband tried to use "maple and brown sugar" oats in the bath with my oldest. That would just be embarrassing.
3. Cold Compresses
According to the aforementioned Mayo Clinic article, this is the most immediate way to get relief. The ice-cold compress temporarily decreases sensation around the bite, providing relief to the area.
4. Banana Peel
I know this one sounds weird, but it's straight from my MawMaw, who apparently learned the trick from my PawPaw from the time he spent in Manila during the war. Simply rub the inside of a banana peel on the mosquito bite, making sure it's a ripe, moist peel. Apparently this isn't just an old southern lady trick either. The website deBugged also agrees that this will make the itch dissipate.
5. Baking Soda Paste
This is a really common remedy, noted Reader's Digest, and it works. I also remember my mother putting baking soda paste on my wasp sting as a child and my chicken pox. Mix equal parts baking soda and water and smear. That's it.
This remedy goes back to ancient times. Smear a little honey on the area, and feel the pain and itch subside. According to Healthline, honey has many healing properties, and mosquito bites are just one of them. (Maybe don't go back out afterwards and attract more bugs and ants though.)
When I asked my Facebook friends for their best remedies, toothpaste was brought up multiple times. Having used them for my breakouts, I know it's good at reducing redness and swelling, but apparently it also works for mosquito bites. Who knew? The website Optiderma argued that it could be a combination of the baking soda and menthol in toothpaste that makes it work. Just try a small portion out on your skin and make sure you don't have a reaction.
8. Aloe Vera
According to website deBugged, the soothing, cooling, aloe vera plant and gel can help aid the itch and burn of the bite. Having never used aloe for this, I immediately went to my cabinet and slathered some on my leg. It worked pretty well, but the aloe with lidocaine I have for my sunburn worked even better.
9. Cool Green Tea Bags
Dr. Wu also told Everyday Health that a cold, damp green tea bag placed over the bug bite can reduce itching and inflammation, thereby soothing the nasty spot.
10. Preparation H
The cream loved by beauty queens, and pregnant moms with hemorrhoids, Preparation H is apparently also great for reducing the itching and swelling from mosquito bites, according to Mosquito Magnet. Sure, when I buy it I can't make eye contact with the cashier, but I'll do anything for relief, even buying extra strength butt cream at the same place I buy my Sunday paper.