Bug bites are common in many parts of the world, and while most of them do not pose any risk, they are a source of annoyance. Most bug bites are not fatal, and will often heal on their own after a couple of hours or days.It is important to note, however, that some are more predisposed to the effects of bug bites than other people. This means that for such people, there is always the risk of extreme allergic reactions as well as the contracting of diseases such as malaria and Zika.
Some of the most common symptoms of bug bites include reddening of the skin at the point of the bite and the surrounding skin, swelling and inflammation of the affected skin. Sometimes a severe allergic reaction follows, and this is often accompanied by shortness of breath, swelling of the face as well as dizziness.In such instances, immediate medical attention is required to prevent further reaction. You should also contact your GP if you are generally unsure of the bite, the area around the bite continues to redden or swell as well as if you get unusual symptoms that are similar to those of a flu. Otherwise, most of the bug bites are easy to treat at home. The home remedies listed below are ideal for the treatment of bug bites.
1. Try and Get Rid of the Sting First:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: A knife blade/ something with a blunt edge (such as the edge of a credit card).
One of the first things that you should do after a bug bite is to scrape off the stinger immediately after the bite. This is important because for as long as it is in contact with the skin, the effects of the bite will continue to radiate in the skin. Removing the stinger reduces the effects of the bite and helps reverse the symptoms of the same. You should avoid using a pair of tweezers for this purpose because there are high chances that it will squeeze more of the sting content into the skin.
- Scrape the stinger off as soon as you feel the effects of the bite using the blunt edge of a knife or credit card.
- You may also use your fingernail, but you need to be careful about this to prevent pressing the stinger in.
2. Ice Pack:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: A handful of ice cubes and clean washcloth. A bag of frozen vegetables (optional).
The purpose of using an ice pack is to numb the skin and to reduce the pain and inflammation at the bite site. The low temperature of the ice also causes constriction of the blood vessels, in effect reducing the rapid spread of the inflammatory substances to the bite area. This provides much-needed relief from the bug bites and speeds up the recovery process. When using this remedy, you must ensure that you do not apply the ice pack directly on your skin. This is important to prevent getting a frostbite which would cause more damage at the bite area.
- Place the ice cubes on the washcloth and wrap to get an ice pack.
- Hold the pack over the bite area for 5 minutes at a go, making sure you rub over the area carefully.
- Repeat this thrice or until the ice cubes melt.
- Use the remedy as often as you need to until the symptoms of the bite ease.
- In the absence of ice cubes, you can always use a pack of frozen vegetables instead.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Cup of organic apple cider vinegar (abbreviated ACV), cotton ball and gauze.
Once you have eliminated the sting from the bug bite, and have applied an ice pack, you can then use the apple cider vinegar. ACV is recommended because it helps get rid of the redness as well as reduces the swelling. You will need cotton wool for application purposes, and gauze to hold in the wet cotton. When shopping for ACV, always look out for organic ACV as it has less additives and is more effective.
- Place the cotton ball in the water and soak it for a couple of minutes.
- Squeeze the excess ACV and then use it to rub on the bug bite area.
- You may hold the cotton wool in place using gauze to improve the remedy’s efficiency.
- Let the wet wool remain on the bite area for about 15 minutes.
- Repeat this process thrice daily until the symptoms wear off.
4. Meat Tenderizer:
Time Required: 1 Hr
What You Need: 2 Teaspoons of meat tenderizer, warm water and a bandage.
The purpose of using a meat tenderizer is to allow for the destruction of the potent poison as a result of the bite/sting. The tenderizer is rich in enzymes that help destroy the structure of the poison in the skin. The end result is far much less pain at the bite area as well as reduced inflammation. For this remedy, you will need some warm water to make a paste for topical application. Follow the directions below to use this remedy.
- Place the meat tenderizer powder in a shallow container and add a few drops of water to the powder.
- Create a thick paste so that it is a little viscous and holds in place.
- Wrap a bandage over the bite area and allow to stay on for an hour.
- Use this remedy twice daily until the symptoms of the bug bite are reduced.
5. Aspirin Tablets:
Time Required: 2 Hrs
What You Need: Aspirin tablets, pestle and mortar and warm water.
Aspirin is an excellent remedy for the treatment of bug bites because it has potent anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the resulting pain. The active ingredients present in the aspirin are also effective in reducing the swelling. For this remedy, you will need to grind the aspirin tablets and use the powder for topical application.
- Take the tablets and crush them using a pestle and mortar to get a fine powder.
- Add a few drops of water to the powder to create a paste.
- Apply the paste on the bug bite area and leave it on for a couple of hours.
- After 2 hours, rinse the paste off using warm water.
- If you are pressed for time, you can instead rub aspirin tablets on the affected area with the same results.
6. Baking Soda:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of baking soda, 1 glass of warm water, a clean washcloth and calamine lotion (optional).
Baking soda is recommended for treating bug bites because it is extremely effective in reducing the itchiness present as a result of specific bug bites. This remedy is alkaline in nature, and it goes a long way in neutralizing the potent effects of the sting, thus providing you with relief from the bite. Calamine lotion is added to the remedy because it helps the baking soda stay in place. follow the directions below to get the best of this remedy.
- Place the baking soda in the glass of warm water and stir to dissolve. There will be some bubbling as the baking soda dissolves; this is perfectly normal.
- Soak the washcloth in the solution for a minute and then dab it on the affected skin.
- Alternatively, mix the baking soda with some calamine lotion and apply the mixture on the affected area.
- Allow the mixture to remain on the skin for 20 minutes before rinsing.
- Use baking soda remedy twice daily until the symptoms clear.
7. Essential Oil:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Peppermint/tea tree oil and cotton wool.
Peppermint oil is best known for its cooling effects, and this is what comes in handy for the treatment of bug bites. By introducing a cooling sensation, the oil helps soothe the affected skin and improves blood circulation to the bite region. If the bite is characterized by itchiness, you will be glad you took some peppermint oil. You may also use tea tree oil for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Soak the cotton wool in your preferred essential oil for a minute.
- Place the soaked wool on the bite region for 15 minutes.
- Repeat this thrice daily until the effects of the bite clear.
Other home remedies that you can use to treat bug bites include toothpaste that has peppermint, pineapple slices which destroy the substance produced by the bite as well as onion slices. It also helps to take preventive measures especially when in the outdoors. This reduces the chances of bug bites in the first place, and gives yo