The next time your kid gets stung by an irate bee or a swarm of mosquitoes, look no further than your kitchen for relief. Tsippora Shainhouse, M.D., a pediatric dermatologist in Beverly Hills, shares all-natural secrets for relieving itching, stinging, and swelling—fast.
Home Remedies for Bug Bites
Why It Helps: It constricts the blood vessels, minimizing the spread of histamine, which triggers the allergic reaction.
What to Do: Apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas for about 15 minutes every few hours, as needed.
Why It Helps: Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties that will help the bite shrink faster.
What to Do: Store steeped green-tea bags in a baggie in your fridge so they’re already cooled when you need them; apply directly to the bite.
Why It Helps: The acidity neutralizes venom from bees (and jellyfish), calming the stinging feeling.
What to Do: Dilute white or apple cider vinegar with the same amount of water, and apply it to the affected area with a cotton ball.
Why It Helps: Basil is packed with menthol and camphor compounds, which create a cooling sensation that helps eliminate the itch.
What to Do: Crush basil leaves into a paste and apply it directly to the bite. Cover with a bandage.
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Why It Helps: This herb, also known as Melissa, is a natural antihistamine that helps relieve itching.
What to Do: As with basil above, you should crush the leaves and apply the paste directly to the bug bite, then cover with a bandage. Got a lot of bites? Fill a bath bag with lemon balm leaves and tie it to your tub's faucet, then let the warm water run through the bag as the tub fills. Hop in to soothe the all-over itch.
Why It Helps: The proteins in milk calm inflammation and reduce redness and swelling.
What to Do: Dab it onto the affected area with a cotton ball.
Tea Tree Oil
Why It Helps: The chemicals in this oil disinfect by killing bacteria and fungus, and they also help bring down swelling. It's also thought to help prevent mosquito bites by acting as a natural bug repellent.
What to Do: Apply a small amount directly to the bite area. It can be drying for the skin, so you can also choose to dilute it with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, before applying.
Why It Helps: Lavender oil has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It can also serve as a mosquito repellent.
What to Do: Dilute with a carrier oil, such as coconut or olive oil, before applying directly to the bite area. As a repellent, sprinkle a few undiluted drops on your bedsheets to keep the mosquitoes away while you snooze.