Home Remedies for Bug Bites

The irritating itch or sharp sting of a bug bite is an unpleasant souvenir that can last for days after your outdoor excursion. Fortunately, you can find items that can soothe a bug bite around your kitchen, bathroom and lawn. Even if you have skin allergies to certain substances, you'll have plenty of options to explore to make that welt disappear in no time.

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Stop the Itching

Clean the bite with soap first to prevent infection. Constantly scratching a bite can break the skin and lead to infection, so quash the itching quickly. Experiment with different household items reputed to stop itching. Start in the kitchen. Press the inside of a banana peel, a bag of crushed ice or diluted lime juice against the bite. The Mayo Clinic recommends using a paste that is three parts baking soda to one part water on the bite. Applying meat tenderizer with papain also can stop an itch, but be sure not to use a spiced variety of tenderizer. For bugs that attach themselves to your skin, such as chiggers, apply bacon grease, clear nail polish or Vicks VapoRub to choke the bugs out. If you don't mind getting a little messy, packing mud around an insect bite also can provide some healing properties.

Full-Body Cure

Sometimes a day outdoors can leave you covered in bites. An oatmeal bath can soothe you if you are itching from head to toe. Grind up a cup of oatmeal--instant and slow-cooking oats work equally well--in the blender and add it to the tub as it fills with warm water. Mix the water with your hand and soak for about 20 minutes.

Painful Stings and Bites

Some bugs, such as wasps, fire ants and spiders, leave behind a painful sting or bite. As with itching bug bites, always wash the area with soap first. Meat tenderizer and ice both are effective against stings as well as irritation. A paste of three parts cornstarch to one part water can help draw out the poison in stings or bites. Applying a dab of household ammonia also can relieve the pain, but be sure to wash the area and your hands thoroughly after the treatment. If you develop a fever, become nauseated or vomit, seek medical help immediately, as this could be the sign of an allergic reaction.


The best remedy for bug bites, of course, is keeping the critters off you in the first place. Even if you don't like the smell of insect repellent, you can take a few steps to repel bugs. Wear clothes in neutral colors like beige or white. Go light on sweet-smelling perfumes and colognes. Eat a lot of onions and garlic: their odor will permeate your sweat, making you smell unpleasant to bugs. Similarly, increase your thiamine intake by eating more whole grains. Insects don't like the smell of thiamine, either, and it might be less unpleasant to your friends and family.


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