It’s the time of year for creepy crawly critters to be out biting and stinging. Our body’s response to the bites and stings can range from itching and stinging to burning or pain. 5 years ago, I received my first ever red wasp sting and was stunned at the pain it caused. I was thankful for reliable home remedies to treat bug bites and stings.
As for my husband, he must taste like candy to mosquitoes. When we’re outside during mosquito season, they seem to signal all their buddies, “He’s outside”. I know you’re probably thinking I’m exaggerating, but where I may get a bite or two, he’s covered in bites. He wants to kill the itch quickly, who doesn’t, so we need a reliable home remedy on hand.
Since we don’t use chemical remedies, we’ve come to depend on quite a few home remedies to treat bug bites and stings. It’s interesting to me how some home remedies work better than others on different people. I’m not sure if it’s related to different skin types, the oiliness of the skin, or exactly what makes the difference but it’s a fact.
Years ago, an old-timer, Granny Edna, taught me to make a home remedy she called “The Recipe.” It’s good for all kinds of bites, stings, and bobos. When she taught me how to make The Recipe, it was because the boys had gotten into a fire ant bed.
If you’re not from the south, you may not understand the severity of the damage these vicious vermin can bring. The Recipe remedied the fever, swelling and painful “heads” quickly.
Here are the ones our family and friends depend on.
Granny Edna’s “The Recipe”
One bottle of 91% rubbing alcohol – we use wintergreen
25 uncoated aspirins
Add the aspirins to the bottle. Shake well until the aspirins dissolve. I let mine sit for a few hours, shaking it when I walk by it until the aspirin dissolves. Shake well before each use.
Water and Milk Method
This method is very old and doesn’t seem to be effective unless you use whole milk. I believe it’s the milk fat and proteins that make the difference. This method is said to help prevent infection, relieve inflammation, and speed relief to the bite.
Mix equal parts milk and water. Use a cotton ball or small clean cloth to apply it to the affected area.
Wash the area with warm soapy water after the treatment. Pat dry. You can do this as often as want.
The wonders of the aloe vera plant are well known. The vitamins and amino acids it contains are nothing short of miracle workers. Many people grow their own aloe plants and pull off a stalk as needed. For those who don’t grow their own plant, you can buy aloe vera gel. Be sure to buy from a reputable source.
Apply the gel directly to the skin and allow to air dry. It’s great for burns as we all know, but it encapsulates any bite or sting area. This protects, provides itch and pain relief, as it promotes healing. You can repeat the application as often as needed.
Putting ice on a bite or sting immediately numbs the area. The numbing allows the body’s immune response to take over without having to endure the body’s histamine reaction. Ice reduces inflammation, itching, and swelling.
I’m sure this raises a few eyebrows but coconut oil is versatile. We use raw, organic coconut oil as part of our daily health routine with oil pulling and in our personal care products. It’s good for bug bites and stings as well.
Rub a little coconut oil onto the affected area. The itching and burning sensation will stop almost immediately.
Ripe Banana Peel
This one is especially helpful for mosquito bites. I don’ suppose I need to say this, but I will, peel the banana first. Rub the inside of the peel on the bite or sting. It gives instant relief.
The only issue I have with this remedy is I don’t always have a ripe banana around. We like our bananas just where they’ve turned yellow which means I don’t usually have a ripe banana lying around. This means it’s not one I can always run to.
This is one of my personal favorites. Remember to put essential oils in a carrier oil like almond or grapeseed oil. I use almond oil as my carrier oil. Dark amber bottles work best to store essential oils.
I use a small amber bottle to combine almond oil and 15-20 drops of lavender oil. Apply the oil directly to the bite or sting for instant relief. Use it as often as needed.
I have rubbed undiluted lavender oil directly onto burns, bites, and stings when I didn’t have any mixed up. I’m not saying to do this, I’m just saying I’ve done it and had no problems with it.
Apple Cider Vinegar
I’ve written a book about the many ways we use raw, organic ACV. It’s indispensable for bug bites and stings. There will be a slight burning sensation when applied to the bite area, but not as bad as alcohol on a day old cut though.
Apply to the bite or sting with a cotton ball. You’ll get immediate relief from itching, inflammation, swelling, and pain.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic due to its natural antibacterial properties. For immediate relief, crush and rub the garlic directly on the area. For continued treatment, make a poultice using crushed garlic and apple cider vinegar. Rub the area generously with the poultice and cover with a bandage to disinfect, relieve pain, inflammation, and itching.
Tannic acid found in tea relieves muscle soreness, toothaches, brings boils to a head and more. For bug bites and stings, a tea bag will reduce swelling and pain.
Wetting the tea bag in water activates the tannic acid. Boil water to just cover the tea bag and let it steep for just 1 minute. Let the bag drip until tea stops running from it then lay it directly on the area.
Don’t squeeze the bag. Squeezing the bag will remove most of the tannic acid from the bag.
It seems each region and group of people have their own home remedies to treat bug bites and stings. I know for certain this isn’t every home remedy there is. These are the ones used by my family and friends.
Do you have your own home remedies for bug bites and stings? Please share them with us in the comments.