Bug bites are an inevitable part of summer-but you don't have to suffer. Try one of these home remedies to get reliefNatural home remedies: Insect and spider bites If you live near a polar ice cap, you'll never have to worry about mosquitoes, bees, wasps, or spiders. For the rest of us, confrontations with these pesky predators are as inevitable as the summer solstice. For some bugs, insect repellent is an effective deterrent. Others, however, seem eternally bold, and their bites are as bad as their buzz. Here are some natural ways to recover from insect and spider bites and protect your skin from further affronts.
Natural remedies for wasp and bee stings
• Scrape away the stinger as soon as possible using the edge of a credit card, a knife blade or your fingernail. As long as it remains in your skin, this little sac of poison keeps pumping its contents into your body. Don't use tweezers or pinch the stinger with your fingertips, since you'll squeeze more venom into your skin.
• As soon as you have the stinger out, soak the area in apple cider vinegar for a few minutes. Dip a cotton ball in vinegar and tape it to the sting site. It will help relieve redness and swelling.
• Treat the area with meat tenderizer right after you're stung. It contains enzymes that break down the venom, reducing swelling and inflammation. Take a few spoonfuls of meat tenderizer powder, add enough water to form a paste, smear the paste on, and leave it on for an hour.
• Apply an aspirin paste to stop the itching. Using the back of a spoon, crush one or two aspirin on a small plate or cutting board. Add just enough water to make a paste, then dab the paste on the sting site. Ingredients in aspirin help to neutralize the venom.
• Apply an ice pack to numb the area and help slow the swelling. If you have a towel or washcloth between the ice pack and your skin, you can leave the ice pack in place for up to 20 minutes.
• Papaya contains enzymes that neutralize insect venom. If you happen to have this fruit in your lunch basket, simply lay a slice of papaya on the sting for an hour.
• Baking soda can bring relief. One method of application is to mix baking soda with a skin lotion, then apply it to the sensitive area. The baking soda helps relieve inflammation, and the skin lotion keeps it in place. Alternatively, you can mix one teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water, let it dissolve, then apply the mixture with a cotton pad or washcloth. Leave the compress in place for 20 minutes.
• Cut an onion, then rub it over the sting site. Doctors aren't quite sure how this works, but the onion contains enzymes that seem to break down inflammatory compounds. Other people swear by smearing a crushed clove of garlic over the skin.
• Sugar works, too. Just dip your forefinger in water, dab it in sugar, then touch the sting site.
• To help reduce swelling, try bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme derived from pineapple. On an empty stomach take 500 milligrams containing at least 2,000 GDU or 3,000 MCU. You can take several doses in a single day. Stop taking it when the swelling goes down.
• Tea-tree oil will also help reduce the swelling. Apply one drop several times a day.
• To stop the itching, dab on a drop or two of lavender oil. Wait about fifteen minutes to allow the oil to take effect. If the area starts to itch again, apply more-but just one or two drops at a time.
Natural remedies for insect bites
• Rub an ice cube on the bug bite right away. This helps decrease the inflammation that causes itching.
• Underarm deodorants have ingredients that reduce skin irritation. If you get a bug bite, try any deodorant and see if it works.
• Apply a drop or two of peppermint oil. It has a cooling effect, and also increases circulation to the bite, speeding the healing process. Alternatively, if you have toothpaste that contains peppermint oil, apply a dab.
• Look for an anti-itch spray or gel that contains menthol, a classic skin-soother. Keep the product in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it. The coolness will provide extra itch relief.
• Buy anti-itch cream that contains a topical anesthetic to numb the area. Some also contain hydrocortisone to stop the swelling and antihistamine to counter the allergic reaction.
• Use a bug-bite relief patch, which looks like a small bandage and goes directly on the skin. Each patch contains concentrated numbing medicine.
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