Itching, burning, aching, and allergic reactions caused by insect bites are not fun while hiking, camping, or simply relaxing at the cottage. To limit the discomfort of bites and bumps, check out these simple tricks.
- First and foremost, make sure there are no signs of a serious allergic reaction to the insect bite. Keep a non-drowsy antihistamine or Epi-pen on hand and, if there are signs of increasing swelling, difficulty breathing, nausea, or dizziness, find the nearest hospital or doctor’s surgery.
- Apply calamine lotion or cortisone cream to bug bites to reduce itching and swelling. DIY remedies include applying tea tree oil, a paste of baking soda and water, a slice of papaya, or a cold green tea bag to the bite.
- For bee stings, make sure the stinger is removed and then wash with soap and water.
- Apply an ice pack to numb the area and slow the swelling from bites and stings.
- Take a soothing oatmeal bath to decrease itching.
- If you find a tick on your skin that has not yet attached, use a napkin to remove it and flush it down the toilet (or place in secured garbage area). If the tick has latched onto your skin, carefully use tweezers to grasp it by the head and slowly pull, until it lets go. Stay calm and work slowly as, if the head detaches, it can remain in your skin and cause infection. Clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol, iodine, or soap and water. Keep the tick in a ziplock bag so that if a rash appears later, the tick can be analyzed for Lyme disease.
- Prevention is the best medicine! Use bug sprays and lotions, burn insect-repelling citronella candles, and wear long-sleeve shirts and pants in tick-prone areas to avoid insect bites in the first place.