Taking the Itch Out of Bug Bites!
You all came to my rescue this weekend and I am SO grateful. I woke around 3 in the morning on Sunday and could. not. stop. scratching! You know when you're in that half-sleep state and not thinking so clearly, so scratching the entire epidermis from your legs doesn't seem wrong? The next morning they were everywhere. Giant, swollen welts. Even on places there should never be giant, swollen welts.
On Sunday I pleaded for your remedies, and you came through in a big way. So thankful for the knowledge in this community.
I tried as many of them as I could. By Sunday afternoon, I was a walking experiment. My legs were smeared with gold and circles of white, and I smelled like a Peppermint Pattie. My son kept asking me to make them.
Here I share with you what everyone else shared with me, and my personal results. Keep in mind that because something worked or didn't for me does not mean it will be the same for everyone, but at least now you have a reference to turn to.
Rose water and peppermint oil: It was suggested that I use witch hazel, but I didn't have any and I know that rose water has similar skin-calming effects. I spritzed on the rose water, than dabbed a cotton ball dowsed with the oil. Ooooohhh...after a few minutes, the cooling burn of the oil really reduced the itch factor. Still there, mind you, but tolerable enough that I didn't need to scratch anymore.
Toothpaste: This one works really well, though not always practical. My reader said it had to be the non-gel kind, which is what I happened to have. The white circles are not so attractive and the toothpaste will get on your clothes when you crouch down to pull a weed from your garden, but it does work and worth a try.
Exfoliation! This is actually scratching...but with a cool, damp wash cloth instead of fingers, you actually get an exfoliation and it feels soooooo good. After fully scratched and satisfied, I applied a liberal coat of coconut oil all over. Very soothing and calming and lasted for a while before the itch came back.
What I also tried...
Cold packs: These definitely helped while I was holding the pack to the bites, but because they were ALL over my legs, it was difficult to cover the territory and not practical when you need to keep moving. The cold seemed to bring the swelling down, too, which was great.
Banana peels: I really wanted this to work because I always have bananas around! I tried both sides of the peel, but it didn't seem to work for these bites. In fact, I think they made them itchier.
Aloe Vera gel: Fortunately, I have plenty of these plants around, so was happy to see this suggested. Helped to heal the itch a little and likely has helped with the healing process of my skin.
Plantain leaves: The cool thing about this is you can find these leaves in any patch of lawn that doesn't use pesticides. It was recommended that I make a poultice, so I boiled them down with a little water, crushed with a mortar and pestle, and then added turmeric, since that has anti-inflammatory properties. I smeared it on but it was messy and duh- made my legs golden yellow. It did seem to stop the itch after it dried, though, so I will try this again...maybe without the turmeric next time.
Another reader suggested the same thing, only she said I could just rub the plantain leaves on, so I will try this, too. A friend had told me before the bug buffet that plantain leaves were used to make mosquito repellant, so there must be some truth to this.
Also suggested but not tried...
*Epsom salt bath *Oatmeal bath *Ava Anderson baby diaper cream *Tea tree oil *Corn starch *Rubbing alcohol *Witch hazel with lavender, rosemary, and peppermint oils *Heat- run spoon under hot water and place on bite
Three days after the buffet, I am itching less and feeling better. I know now that if I intend to sit in a field watching the full moon by a fire, it would be wise to wear bug spray.