Ah summer! A time where everything from picnics to play-dates are better outdoors! There are several things to be mindful of when participating in outdoor activities, such as applying sunscreen, keeping a watchful eye on children swimming in the pool or at the beach, and mosquito bites.
Mosquitoes are known for causing red itchy bites, but they can also be carriers of diseases such as West Nile and Zika. Be sure to wear insect repellent to help ward off mosquitoes and other bugs. If you do get a mosquito bite, try some of these home remedies using over-the-counter items to help reduce the itch. (If you do scratch the bite be sure to not break the skin; this makes it easier for infections to occur.)
- Honey – Put a dab over the bite. Honey has an antibacterial agent that can help prevent infections.
- A bandage – Place a bandage over the bump to serve as a reminder to not scratch.
- Aloe-Vera – The anti-inflammatory properties possessed by aloe help alleviate itch. Storing your aloe in a cold environment before applying can also reduce the swelling and itchiness of the mosquito bite.
- Preparation H – This topical treatment helps reduce the swelling and itch.
- Rubbing alcohol – Though it may sting for a minute, the antiseptic properties helps to reduce the risk of infection.
- Basil – Rubbing basil on your skin before going outside can act as a great mosquito repellent. After the bite has occurred basil can be used for its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Mouthwash – A dash of mouthwash over the bite can reduce the itch. Menthol is the active ingredient that cools the skin providing some relief.
“Don’t forget calamine lotion for over-the-counter remedies,” said Jessica Blydenburgh, DO, of Mather Primary Care. “Essential oils such as rosemary, tea tree and eucalyptus can also be helpful. But prevention is key!”
Dr. Jessica Blydenburgh is a family medicine physician at Mather Primary Care in Port Jefferson.