While mosquito repellants reduce the chance of a bite from our pesky friends, once the weather gets warmer you’re still pretty much guaranteed a mosquito bite or two. Once you’re bit, the scratching begins. If over-the-counter itch relief medications (like soothing creams and anti-histamines) aren’t for you, take the natural route. Give your skin some relief with these soothing foods.
Understanding the Itch
Before relieving the pain, it’s helpful to understand why you’re itchy in the first place. According to About.com insect expert Debbie Hadley, the “bite” isn’t really a bite. Rather, a female mosquito pierces your skin to find a blood vessel to feed from. When she does, a substance foreign to your body is released and your body produces histamine to fight it. This causes inflammation and irritation, creating the itchy sensation.
Scratching is usually the go-to relief for most people, but there are several problems with that solution. First, you’re breaking the skin open, thus creating an area prone to infection. Second, scratching creates more inflammation, only making the situation worse. Logically, anti-histamines and anti-itch creams (see the best options here) would help reduce the inflammation and itching. Below are foods that produce the same effect, and that you probably have lying around your kitchen. Apply them after cleaning the bite area with water.
Frozen foods (or an ice pack): Open up your freezer and choose a frozen chicken breast or a bag of peas to apply to the swollen area. If you have ice cubes, wrap a few in a paper towel and use as an ice pack instead. In addition to soothing relief, the cold numbs the nerves in the area of the bite, which helps control swelling.
Basil and peppermint: Basil contains camphor and thymol, chemicals that relieve itching, and peppermint provides a cooling sensation that overpowers the itching sensation. Crush a few fresh leaves of either to release the oils and apply directly to the bite.
Cucumbers and tea bags: Both are usually used to reduce swelling and dark circles under your eyes but can be used for bug bites in the same way. The tannins in the tea help pull out toxins and excess liquid, which reduces swelling and inflammation. Learn how to prepare them here.
Honey: In addition to reducing inflammation, honey is a natural anti-microbial, reducing risk of infection.
Lemons, limes, and vinegar: These acidic foods balance the pH of the bitten area, reducing itching. They also offer natural anti-microbial actions. Dab these onto your skin using a cotton ball, but make sure not to apply them prior to sun exposure! They can cause painful blisters when exposed to the sun.
Similarly, a paste made from a few pinches of baking soda mixed with water creates the same pH-balancing, itch-relieving effect.
Source: CalorieCount.about.com; By +Leyla Shamayeva on Jun 10, 2014 09:00 AM in Tips & Updates