When we moved into our house, EVERYTHING seemed to be overgrown. The bushes in the front were taller than me, a fir tree spilled into our walkway, and a giant azalea looked as if it were trying to slowly swallow our air conditioner unit. For several months, we cursed the old “lazy” owners as we spent days trimming back Forsythias, fighting with holly, and halving the size of a 2-story Rhododendron.
After the fall/winter/early spring of hard work, I decided to reward myself by planting a small garden in a few feet of our newly acquired yard space (previously occupied by a mammoth Forsythia). Little did I know that the second late spring/early summer hit, out came the bugs. Each hour spent weeding/planting was roughly equivalent to 5 bites. I’ve slowly learned my lesson. Always wear shoes, socks, and long pants. ALWAYS put on bug spray, although it tends to work only about half the time. Spray over and under your shirt (your stomach and back will thank you). Tuck your shirt into your pants. These tips will save you a lot of grief, but if you’re as delicious as I seem to be, the bugs will still find a way to get to you.
After running out in flipflops to water the garden, one of my toes began to itch. Each scratch brought relief, immediately followed by more itching. Nothing seemed to be working, so I turned to the internet to find a remedy. Here are my findings:
- Scotch tape
- How it works: Sealing the bite from air will relieve the itch, and the tape itself will draw out some of the “poison”
- Did it work? NO! It may work with some types of bites, but not a mosquito to the big toe. All it did was prevent me from scratching, but it was pretty unbearable to resist.
- How it works: Numbs the area, thereby numbing the itch
- Did it work? For about 10 minutes. Unfortunately, although that 10 minutes was amazing, it wouldn’t help me get a full night’s sleep.
- Lemon Juice, Rubbing Alcohol, Ammonia (via The Itch Eraser), Hydrocortisone cream, Vick’s Vaporub
- How it works: Various reasons (lemon juice, draws out the “poison”, Vicks prevents oxygen from the wound as well as giving a cooling sensation via the menthol)
- Did it work? The itch eraser, lemon juice, and rubbing alcohol STUNG. Honestly, I prefer stinging to the itch, but in this case the sensation didn’t work for more than 10 mins or so.
- Hot Water
- How it works: Run hot water on the bite, at a temp that is uncomfortable but doesn’t burn.
- Did it work? It wasn’t enough to lead to a night without waking up to scratch, but it DID help for awhile. It got itchier at first, but slowly it went away. Unfortunately it’s not always easy to run hot water over a bite. A bite on my knee proved harder to get underneath the tap in the tub.
- Banana Peel
- How it works: Rub the bite with the inside of a banana peel
- Did it work? This one helped for a smaller bite on my leg, but didn’t do much for the mosquito bite. May be worth a try, but I wouldn’t count on it as a sure thing.
- Benadryl Anti-Itch Spray
- How it works: Spray the bite.
- Did it work? This one worked pretty well…it seemed to stop the itch for at least 30 mins to an hour.
- Ibuprofen (ex. Advil), Benadryl Allergy Tablets
- How it works: Take the recommended dose and wait a half hour for the anti-inflammatory/anti-allergy agent to kick in.
- Did it work? These are by far the most effective. Benadryl is great at night because it also makes me drowsy, Advil helps during the day.
The most effective way I’ve found to fight itchy bug bites? Benadryl spray and Ibuprofen. One provides immediate relief while waiting for the other to take effect.