Weekly Wellness: How to treat mosquito bites
COLUMBIA- It’s a fairly normal experience in Missouri during the summer – mosquito bites. Ugh! Mosquito bites cause an intense itchiness because our bodies release histamine, a compound involved in the body’s immune response. Specifically, there are proteins in the mosquitoes’ saliva that trigger our skin to get that ugly, itchy red bump.
In many cases, the mosquito bites will clear up in a few days and are totally annoying but nothing serious. The older we get, the less likely we are to develop a serious reaction from the bites. While everyone is different, these remedies might help:
- Try using calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. Calamine lotion is formulated to relieve itching and discomfort while hydrocortisone cream can help reduce swelling, redness, and itching.
- Use a cold compress. Applying an ice pack or a col, wet cloth to the bites can help. The cold temperature causes the dilated blood vessels near the surface of the skin to narrow, limiting inflammation.
- Moisturize regularly. When skin is dry it is more prone to irritation and itchiness. Use a gentle cream or lotion daily – when getting out of the shower or bath.
- Take an OTC antihistamine. If you’re really struggling, taking an antihistamine can help. An oral antihistamine starts to work within an hour and aims to have a 24-hour effect. Talk with your doctor.
- Mix a baking soda paste. A great DYI solution is combining four parts baking soda to one part water and apply the paste to those itchy spots.
If these remedies fail or your symptoms intensify (i.e. fever, joint pain, red eyes, headache, fatigue), contact your physician.