little girl with bug bites on leg and arm
June 21, 2024

During the warmer months, biting bugs like mosquitoes are a lot more active. When combined with the fact that many people spend more time outdoors this time of year, this means there’s a high likelihood of getting bit by a bug. Mosquito bites and other bug bites can cause persistent itching and discomfort that may last for days. If you want to stop the itch, try these effective remedies for bug bites.

1. Cold Compress

Cold temperatures are great at reducing inflammation. Applying a cold compress to bug bites can help reduce swelling and also numb the skin for short-term relief from itching. Try using a cold, damp washcloth, a bag of crushed ice, or an ice pack and apply it to the bite for 5 to 10 minutes as needed throughout the day. Just make sure you place a barrier between your skin and the ice to prevent damage.

2. Heat

stack of washcloths to use as warm compress

While cold temperatures are one of the most common remedies for bug bites, heat can also help you find much-needed relief. Heat can temporarily reduce itching and inflammation. You can try soaking in a warm bath or applying a washcloth soaked in warm water for up to 10 minutes. You can also purchase a targeted heat treatment tool designed for bug bites. If there is an open wound, do not use heat therapy.

3. Aloe Vera

You may already know that aloe vera can be used to treat sunburn, but you may not know that this natural gel can also provide relief from bug bites. When applied to a bug bite, aloe vera gel can help reduce irritation and itching and may even help it heal faster. Apply aloe vera gel to the affected skin, let it dry, and reapply as needed.

4. Honey

honey dipper in bowl of honey

Honey has been used for centuries to treat a range of ailments ranging from sore throats to dry skin and much more. This natural substance has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that make it an effective treatment for bug bites. Apply a small drop of honey on an itchy bug bite to reduce inflammation and minimize the risk of infection. The stickiness of the honey will also reduce your temptation to scratch.

5. Oatmeal

If you have an uncomfortable bug bite, you may be able to relieve itching and swelling with oatmeal. Oatmeal contains compounds that have anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory qualities. Mix equal amounts of oatmeal and water, then apply the paste to your bug bite for 10 minutes before wiping off. If you have a lot of bug bites, an oatmeal bath can be an easier option. Stir one cup of ground oats into a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes for relief.

6. Peppermint Oil

bottle of peppermint oil and dropper next to peppermint leaves

Peppermint oil is another natural remedy that has been used to treat itching for centuries, and it may be an effective treatment for itchy bug bites. Dilute peppermint oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil or jojoba oil, then apply the mixture to the affected skin. For extra relief, add a few drops of peppermint oil to a warm bath.

7. Witch Hazel

A natural astringent that’s easy to find over the counter is witch hazel. This substance contains tannins, which are natural anti-inflammatory compounds. Applying witch hazel to bug bites can help reduce inflammation, soothe irritation, and encourage healing. Gently dab a small amount of witch hazel over the bite using a cotton ball. Allow it to dry, then repeat as needed.

8. Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegar bottle surrounded by apples

Apple cider vinegar has been used for hundreds of years as a natural remedy for many medical conditions. If you have an itchy bug bite, dabbing a drop of apple cider vinegar on it can help reduce stinging and burning sensations as well as act as a natural disinfectant if you’ve been scratching too much and broken the skin. If you have a lot of bug bites, you can try diluting two cups of vinegar in a lukewarm bath and soaking for 20 minutes.

9. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is a member of the daisy family and has been used as a common natural remedy for a variety of ailments. When applied to the skin, chamomile can help reduce inflammation and itching. To soothe bug bites, brew a tea bag filled with chamomile in water for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Squeeze out any excess water and apply the tea bag to the bites for 10 minutes. Use a wet cloth to wipe the area clean.

10. Over-the-Counter Medication

white pills spilling from bottle labeled Antihistamine

If you have itchy bug bites, you can apply an over-the-counter anti-itch cream, such as hydrocortisone cream, or a topical antihistamine. Another option is to take a second-generation oral antihistamine such as cetirizine, levocetirizine, or fexofenadine to relieve itching and reduce allergic reactions to bug bites. Just make sure you do not use a topical antihistamine and oral antihistamine at the same time.

These are some of the most effective remedies for itchy bug bites. If you’re looking for bug bite treatments or have questions about preventing bug bites, stop by Lakeland Drug Company and our expert pharmacy team will be happy to help you find what you need!