Summer has definitely arrived, and with it comes the unfortunate spike of insect bites and stings. While you can’t do much to prevent these nasty pests from feeding on you, there are dozens of home remedies you can try to help soothe the sting, burn, and itch from a variety of biting pests.
It’s not just your favorite breakfast food–in addition to serving as a healthy snack, oatmeal is also highly effective at taking the sting out of painful insect bites. It contains several soothing compounds, and works well when mixed into a thick paste with water. Put some paste on a washcloth and hold it on your skin for about ten minutes before wiping clean. If you’re absolutely covered in insect bites, you can also take an oatmeal bath for instant relief.
For quick relief from insect bites, simply raid your pantry. Honey has powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to treat sore throats, bruises, cuts, and, of course, insect stings. While honey can be sticky when applied to your skin, this will encourage you to keep your hands away from the itch.
- Aloe vera
Aloe vera is an easy to grow succulent and by many people is used as a houseplant. While you don’t have to use fresh aloe for it to be effective, if you already have one of these plants you are in luck. Aloe has anti-inflammatory properties and can prevent infections as well as ease the pain of minor wounds. Use a single dollop of gel from the plant to soothe irritated areas.
Ice is a go-to treatment to reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation. The cold will help numb your skin and bring down the puffiness. Put some crushed ice in a bag and place it on the skin for a few minutes at a time. You should put a washcloth between the bag and your skin to help create a barrier to protect your skin.
- Lemon balm
Lemon balm is closely related to mint, and its strong smell helps to repel mosquitoes as well as to heal their bites. Use lemon balm essential oil or finely chopped leaves from the plant. It will serve as a stringent and also help ease inflammation. This plant contains polyphenols, which are helpful in speeding healing time and eliminating the chance of an infection.
- Chamomile tea
When consumed in a tea, chamomile helps to calm your mind and ease you into a state of relaxation. When applied to the skin, chamomile tea can help reduce skin irritation and lessen itching. Let it steep for about half an hour, then put the tea bag directly on your skin. You can reuse tea bags for repeated uses if so desired.
- Baking soda
Baking soda will help cleanse a bite and also provide instant relief. You can use plain baking soda or that found in a toothpaste mixture. If you use plain baking soda, add a bit of water to create a paste that can be easily applied to your skin. Let it rest there for about ten minutes before you wash it off.
It might be one of the stinkier remedies on this list, but garlic is effective at alleviating symptoms from a range of conditions, including high blood pressure and, of course, mosquito bites. This tasty vegetable is high in anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Garlic can burn a bit when applied to the skin, especially if you have areas where the skin is broken, so instead of applying a chunk of garlic directly to your skin, try mixing a few tablespoons of fresh garlic with coconut oil to create a thick, calming paste.
Whatever you do, try to avoid touching or scratching the bite or sting. This will not only increase itching, pain, and burning, but it will also slow the healing process and increase your likelihood of infection. Try one of these natural home remedies instead to keep your summer as relaxed and itch-free as possible.
Rose Weber is a garden care extraordinaire. She has been gardening since she was a child in and loves to spend her weekends teaching her grandchildren all about growing a vegetable patch. You can find her sharing her crop with her friends and neighbors.