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Here’s Exactly What to Do When You’re Covered in Mosquito Bites

Here’s Exactly What to Do When You’re Covered in Mosquito Bites

What do you do when you are covered with mosquito bites or any bug bite? How do you get relief for the itch of bug bites and how do you help heal them? As a dermatologist who is well loved by the biting insect world, I've paid special attention to itch relief remedies for bug bites. Here are the medical remedies and home remedies that work. I'm going to explain bug bites so that you understand why they itch and what do do to relieve the itch and help them heal.

Why do mosquito bites itch?

How to treat mosquito bitesThe bite of a mosquito results in a histamine release in your skin at the site of the bite. Histamine starts a cascade of immune reactions that leads to itch.

Why do mosquito bites form bumps?

The same cascade of immune release results in swelling from edema. The description is a “wheal and flare” which means redness and swelling.

Dermatologist’s 5 tips to relieve the itch, treat and heal mosquito bites?

1. Don’t scratch bug bites!

This will lead to scabs, sores and possible skin infections like impetigo.

2. Keep the skin cool when you have bug bites to help relieve itch.

Warm or hot skin will itch more. You can use an ice cube, ice pack or even a cool can of soda to cool the skin. The faster you can chill the bite, the more it will help.

Use cool compresses or an ice pack to reduce itching from bug bites.

Chilling skin will cause the blood vessels to constrict so there is less swelling. It also confuses your nerves; when they are sending messages about the cold, they lower the volume on the messages about itch.

3. Apply cortisone cream as soon as possible when you get a bug bite.

This helps to minimize the wheal and flare reaction. Again, the faster you can get cortisone onto your bite, the better it will work to prevent itching and swelling. Pack it with you when you know you will be in mosquito territory!

4. You can take oral antihistamines to help relieve bug bite itch.

Options include sedating antihistamines such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine). Take it at night to prevent scratching in your sleep. But don’t apply the antihistamine Benedryl to your skin.

Topical diphenhydramine is an allergen and can cause an itchy rash.

You don’t need your itchy bug bite to evolve into an itchy allergic rash to your itch cream. Many “itch creams” contain diphenhydramine so read labels.

Why will it help to take an antihistamine for itchy mosquito bites?

Bug bite reactions are all about histamine. Antihistamines will block the histamine receptors and blunt the reaction. Some antihistamines will make you drowsy and some won’t. They’ll all work to soothe the itch of bug bites.

Non-sedating and non-prescription antihistamines for daytime use include loratadine. You need to know that antihistamines have some serious side effects so read labels and discuss treatment with a pharmacist or your doctor.

5. Moisturize your skin to help the bit lesion heal.

Dry skin is a form of minor skin injury and can slow skin healing. It is also more prone to eczema, which can happen if your skin is inflamed and you are scratching it. Applying a bland but rich moisturizer after a cool shower can give you surprising itch relief.

Does moisturizing your skin really help to soothe bug bites that itch?

natural skin lotion to heal bug bite itch

Yes, dry skin always itches more. Moisturize after your bath or shower with a hypoallergenic skin cream or lotion such as my Natural Face, Hand and Body Lotion. Remember, use cooler water to bathe skin because it will soothe itch and help reduce swelling.

Doctor's additional tips and information about bug bite treatment

At what point should you see a doctor for mosquito bites?

See a doctor if the bites become infected. If they do, you may need a prescription to treat the infection and keep it from getting worse or spreading to other parts of your skin. Bacteria enters skin wounds and a scratched mosquito bite is a wound! Impetigo from scratching the skin can be serious.

Worrisome signs of a mosquito bite include:

  • Your skin becomes redder instead of healing as the days pass.
  • Tenderness develops, and the scab becomes moist.

impetigo photoWe describe the crust of impetigo as a “honey colored crust,” and it sits on top of a red and tender area of skin. It gets worse and worse instead of better as time passes. These are the signs that it’s time to ask for medical help.

Mosquito bites can be really annoying, but try not to scratch them!

Treat your mosquito bites with care and watch them carefully to ensure they are healing correctly. This way, you'll feel less itch and avoid having to see a medical doctor for a more severe problem!

To learn more about treating your skin with my Natural Body and Face Lotion click here.