Mosquito bites: How to ditch the itch and heal fast

With red bumps and that eternal itch, mosquito bites are a real pain in the behind. What helps with mosquito bites, and how can you get rid of them fast? TAG24 has you covered.

Mosquito bites are especially common in summer, but how do you get rid of them?
Mosquito bites are especially common in summer, but how do you get rid of them?  © Sarawuth123 / 123RF

Mosquitoes are tiny bloodsuckers with little purpose other than to consume blood and spread disease.

When these little critters decide to take a nibble on your skin, you are more likely to suffer a slight itchiness than anything dramatic, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't know how to treat mosquito bites.

Are you a little itchy? Are you feeling a under the weather?

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Mosquitoes can be seriously nasty, causing painful bites that swell up, itch badly, and cause a lot of distress.

TAG24 is here with everything you need to know about how to help mosquito bites, how to get them to stop itching, and how to get them to disappear quickly.

How to prevent mosquito bites

There are many options to help prevent mosquito bites, but not all of them particularly effective. We've all been in that situation where we pick up what we think is a fantastic mosquito repellent only to emerge from a three-day camping trip riddled with little red lumps.

Mosquito repellents, which can be bought in pharmacies, drugstores, and supermarkets, offer a certain degree of protection. The most effective preparations (i.e., the ones that actually work) are the ones which contain diethyltoluamide (DDET). The problem? The stuff is quite toxic and is insanely bad for you.

Icaridin provides okay protection and is much better for you. What you should avoid, though, are repellents that use essential oils of lavender or lemongrass. These evaporate very quickly and don't give you much in the way of long-term protection.

If you are going out, then you should only apply mosquito repellent more than twenty minutes after sunscreen. That means that if you are going for a swim in a creek, you should leave some time to prepare.

It's not healthy to be constantly wearing mosquito repellent, so whilst they can be effective, repellents should be paired with other preventive mechanisms to make sure everything is healthy and okay.

Hanging mosquito nets when sleeping, wearing long sleeves and pants when in mosquito-prone areas, and using mosquito coils are other great ways to protect yourself.

What do mosquito bites look like?

Mosquito bites are very common and look like red, puffy bumps on your skin. They vary in size depending on how allergic an individual is to mosquitoes as well as the size and type of mosquito. If you are especially allergic, you may find that bites form small, hard blisters.

How to treat mosquito bites

Do lemon slices help with mosquito bites?
Do lemon slices help with mosquito bites?  © Handmadepictures / 123rf

When mosquitoes bite, they itch. When mosquito bites itch, we scratch. When we scratch, the bites scab over and scar.

It's a good idea to try to avoid this. Here are a few different remedies for relieving mosquito bites.

Here's a quick rule of thumb:

  • Use lotions and gels with hydrocortisone in them to relieve itching.
  • Thermal sting healers also work to relieve itching, but only use them on intact skin.
  • You can't instantly get rid of mosquito bites, but you can reduce them quite easily and quickly.
  • There are a ton of over-the-counter and supermarket-available remedies for mosquito bites.

How to get rid of mosquito bites fast

There are a couple of great treatments for mosquito bites, many available purely from items that are commonly found around the household. The CDC recommends using baking soda and water to reduce the itchiness and warns against scratching bites as they can become infected.

You cannot instantly get rid of mosquito bites, but you can make them disappear faster by following these simple steps:

  • Step 1: Instantly wash the area with soap and water.
  • Step 2: Apply an icepack for 10-20 minutes, or something cold like a wet rag if ice is unavailable.
  • Step 3: Use a thermal sting healer to close up the bite and prevent the release of histamine proteins.
  • Step 4: Apply a paste made out of baking soda and water and leave it on for about 10 minutes.
  • Step 5: Pick up some over-the-counter antihistamine or hydrocortisone cream. Apply regularly over the next few days.

How to stop mosquito bites from itching

You don't need anything ridiculously fancy to combat an itchy mosquito bite. Indeed, home recipes will generally suffice.

Stay calm, chill out, and use a few of these solutions for relief:

  • Cool the bite with a damp cloth.
  • Apply a slice of lemon or half an onion to the bite.
  • Use compresses with acetic acid clay.
  • Apply baking soda and water.
  • Use Lotions and gels with hydrocortisone.
  • Reduce itchiness with antihistamine creams.
  • Consider thermal sting healers for mosquito bites on non-damaged skin.

Are thermal sting healers worth it?

Electronic heat pens use a short heat pulse of about 120°F to scab over the bite instantly. This prevents the release of itch-inducing protein histamine. This is seriously effective at preventing itchiness, and can even be used against other insect bites like those from horseflies, bees, wasps, or fleas. But experts warn not to use these tools on already damaged skin.

What helps mosquito bites stop swelling

The most common treatments for mosquito bite itchiness, especially the application of icepacks and wet rags, are also effective at stopping them from swelling. If you apply something cold to your bite, whether it's an icepack, a packet of frozen pees, or a bottle of lemonade, the swelling response will be greatly reduced.

Keep in mind: If mosquito bites continue to swell and puff up, this is not normal. They will swell a little, but if they get really bad then you need to go to a doctor.

Mosquitoes are generally harmless, but if a bite swells up significantly you should see a doctor.
Mosquitoes are generally harmless, but if a bite swells up significantly you should see a doctor.  © Eric Karits / Unsplash

What to put on mosquito bites

There are a number of excellent over-the-counter ointments and creams to help mosquito bites. We have covered a number of treatments, but there is a great selection of different kinds of creams that you can use.

Here are some specific creams and ointments to put on mosquito bites:

  • Aloe vera creams and ointments are great for soothing itchy or inflamed skin. In addition to mosquito bites, aloe can also be fantastic for things like sunburn.
  • Calamine lotion reduces mild itchiness.
  • Hydrocortisone anti-itch cream is incredibly useful.
  • Antihistamine creams are also very effective, as they combat the main protein that causes itchiness in mosquito bites.
  • Lidocaine creams will numb the affected area, instantly relieving itchiness.
  • Soothing ointments with ingredients like coconut or oatmeal can also be effective.
  • Paste made out of water and baking soda is an easy go-to remedy.

Stop mosquito bites from itching: Final tips

Mosquito bites can be incredibly itchy, but there's no need to fear. There are many different ways to reduce the itchiness and lessen the swelling. Just focus, act quickly, and definitely don't scratch!

To help mosquito bites heal, make sure you cool down the area to reduce the swelling, counter the histamine response, and then apply a soothing ointment to speed up the recovery process and reduce the itchiness.

Cover photo: sarawuth123/123RF

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