5 natural remedies to treat bug bitesSlideshow
Why it works: Inflammation from bug bites is triggered by a mild immune system reaction. Applying ice helps reduce inflammation and offers cooling, soothing relief. “The ice will also numb your nerve endings so you won't feel the itch as much,” says Rachel Schwartzman, a Toronto-based naturopathic doctor.
Wrap ice in a wet washcloth or tea towel and apply to the welt for no longer than 10 minutes at a time and repeat every three to four hours.
Why it works: Tea contains tannic acid, which has astringent properties that help pull moisture from the body to the exterior which can reduce the size of the welt to lessen discomfort. Boil water and steep the tea bag for one minute. Let it cool to room temperature and apply on the bite for 10 minutes. Repeat every three to four hours as necessary.
Why it works: Aloe works as an antiseptic with anti-inflammatory properties. An emollient, Aloe's lightweight texture is also soothing to the skin. Apply pure aloe gel (available in health food stores and pharmacies) or the gel straight from the leaf of an Aloe plant to the bite. Re-apply every four hours as necessary.
Why it works: Baking soda’s alkaline nature helps neutralize the pH of the skin, alleviating the itch, explains Schwartzman. Make a paste by combining one tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of water. Apply to the bite, leave on for 10 minutes and wash off. Repeat every three to four hours as necessary. For really irritating bites, Schwartzman recommends covering the pasted area with a gauze wrap for 20 minutes.
Lavender essential oil
Why it works: Lavender essential oil decreases the sensation of the itch and has antimicrobial properties, which Schwartzman says helps kill bacteria, reducing the chance of infection. Apply two drops of the soothing oil to the welt. For extra-sensitive skin, dilute the oil with a few drops of olive oil. Re-apply every four hours as necessary.
For more natural remedies, try these six foods that fight summer allergies.