Insect Bites – Prevention and Natural Treatments
Unfortunately when the summer season arrives, so do those annoying biting insects! Here are a few tips to prevent being bitten by gnats/midges or mosquitoes this summer:
If you have to venture outside at dawn or dusk, when they are most active, wear light coloured clothes, long sleeves and long trousers, a hat and socks.
If you are planning an evening outdoors, be sure to take a shower to rinse off the sweat from the day. Components of sweat attract mosquitoes.
The female mosquito, which is the one that bites, seem to love sugar, so avoid eating sugary foods in the 4-5 hours before your BBQ evening begins!
During dawn or dusk avoid spending time near stagnant fresh water (bird baths, pet bowls, garden toys etc.) Fresh water is the essential breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Ensure your vitamin B Complex status is healthy, supplement if necessary because thisgroup of nutrients make your skin less attractive to biting insects.
Include garlic regularly in your diet, it repels biting insects.
If you are planning on being in the open for an extended period, such as a camping trip, purchase a natural insect repellent (avoid the chemically laden ones as the long term health effects far outweigh the prevention of a few simple insect bites). Essential oils such as Citronella, Lemongrass, Cinnamon and Peppermint applied to the clothing help repel critters.
Here are a few tips to help treat insect bites:
Tea bags of all kinds can help! Cooled, used tea bags from any of the following may be applied directly to the bite: Chamomile, black tea, Peppermint, Lemon & Ginger.
Fresh herbs can be crushed and applied directly to the site of the bite: basil, peppermint, and Lavender.
Some food can also help when applied to the affected area: cucumber, honey (especially Manuka), Apple Cider Vinegar (diluted 1 part ACV to 10 parts water).
If you’re unfortunate enough to have bites all over, soak in a bathtub with either: 2-3 cupfuls of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), OR 4 Tablespoons of baking soda.
Using an ice pack (or pack of frozen peas) can help reduce swelling and pain associated with bites.
Using heat can also help: dip a teaspoon in a cup of hot water and apply the back of the spoon to the affected area and press it against it for a few minutes (caution: ensure it is not too hot by touching it very lightly on your tongue first).
Boots sell an electronic gadget called a Bite & Sting Relief which I am told greatly reduces the urge to itch!