The great thing about summer is picnics, braai's and the ability to hold basically all of our social get-togethers and activities outdoors; think swimming and sun tanning, touch-rugby and sunset walks. The warm weather brightens everyone's spirits and everything is perfect, until you hear that high pitched, whiney buzz echoing through your garden. This is followed by waking up to find yourself covered in red bumps and that endless itch, annoying you right to the core of your existence. There can be only one culprit; mosquitoes!
Everyone has suffered the wrath of these tiny bloodsuckers. To them we are a giant bucket of Nandos, or an all-you-can-eat buffet, leaving behind nasty red welts and an irritating itch.
Did You Know only female mosquitoes bite?
Technically mosquitoes don't bite, they suck. When a female mosquito has selected you as their starter or main course for the evening, she uses her needle-like mouth part (called a proboscis) to penetrate your skin, and then searches around for a tasty blood vessel.
Once she has found the perfect vessel she will start to feed. But, before this begins, a mosquito will release some of her saliva which acts as an anticoagulant. This lets her feed without being detected. How disgusting, and not to mention, sneaky!
Ever wonder why mosquito bites itch?
Our body's natural reaction towards an anticoagulant is to create histamines and send them to the affected area. It is the histamines which cause the bite to itch. It's actually not the mosquito that has caused both the swelling and the itching but your immune system, even though it's the root of the evil red bumps you experience. A mosquito bite doesn't always itch right away. Sometimes it can take a couple of hours to notice you've been bitten.
The vicious cycle is the more you scratch a mosquito bite, the more histamine your body sends to the area, and the itchier the bite becomes.
Next time you become victim to a mosquitoes bite restrain yourself from scratching, itâ€™s just going to create the endless cycle of an unstoppable itch. I say this from experience, as I seem to have an on-going battle with itch vs. scratch. Usually the latter wins, making me itch even more. It is a vicious cycle, donâ€™t fall prey to it (like me)!
How can I stop mosquito bites itching?
Fortunately for us, there are some treatments for mosquito bites which can help reduce redness, swelling and help stop that notorious itching.
These natural remedies for mosquito bites can be made from items found around your home, and can help to put an end to those sleepless nights and let you enjoy your summer â€“ in peace and quiet!
Home Remedies for Mosquito Bites
Toothpaste is a great treatment to help fight the annoying itch that possesses you after a mosquito bite. The menthol flavour from the toothpaste acts as a cooling agent, distracting your mind from the urge to scratch. Added to which the astringent characteristic of toothpaste will help reduce swelling by eliminating the fluid build-up. This will definitely help in making sure I don't scratch myself to the point of no return!
Did you know honey (especially fresh honey) is a natural antibiotic? Been bitten by a mosquito? Apply some honey to the bite.
If you're like me and you attack each mosquito bite like a feral cat on a can of tuna then honey is also a great way to treat mosquito bites that you have scratched open. Sweet relief!
It may sound strange but banana peels are another great way to treat mosquito bites. This is due to the natural oils found within the banana skin. For this natural remedy to work, simply rub the banana peel, flesh side down, on your mosquito bite and relax as the irritating itch fades away.
Not only can vapour rub help with a blocked nose but it has also been proven to reduce itch from mosquito bites for some people. Much like toothpaste, this is mainly due to the menthol based ingredients found in this product, mixed with the camphor oil.
Just like wasp and bee stings, ice is a great way to treat a mosquito bite. Take either an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas and place it on the mosquito bite. The cold temperature will help cool the area, reducing the redness and keeping the itching apocalypse at bay.
Did you know that Aloe Vera is a fantastic, natural, antiseptic agent? That's what makes it a good natural remedy for mosquito bites. The vitamins and minerals found in Aloe Vera will help to reduce the pain, swelling and itching. On top of that it will also help the bite heal faster.
Either fresh Aloe Vera or Aloe Vera gel works perfectly for this home remedy. Before use, make sure it is cold before you apply it to your skin. Leaving it in the fridge for 10 minutes usually does the trick. All you need to do is rub the gel (this can be extracted from a fresh Aloe Vera plant by cutting a meaty portion off and squeezing) to the mosquito bite and let it do its magic.
Create an X
This next home remedy for mosquito bites is more of a temporary fix rather than a solution. All you need to do is make an X on top of the mosquito bite using your fingernail. Don't press too hard as you don't want to pierce the skin, just apply enough pressure to make a dent. This will help stop the itching however it will return when the X fades away. I have actually tried this, and it just makes me itch even more! I'd rather resort to the remedies listed above instead.