My dad likes to tell a story of a beach vacation my family went on when I was about five years old. We lived in North Carolina and had gotten up super early to drive to the coast, which was about four hours away. As the story goes, my exhausted father looked over at me at some point and thought “Wow, she’s started to get really hairy legs for a 5-year-old.” When he took a closer look; however, he realized that rather than hair, my legs were actually covered from top to bottom with mosquitos.
We made a brisk exodus from the beach, my brother and I threw up in the car on the way home, and we never went on another family beach vacation again.
Mosquito bites are one of those things you get used to where I lived, and I did. Every summer trip outdoors typically ended in at least a few bites, although I’ve never had an experience like my pre-K trip to the beach again. My mom always tried to have a bottle of Cortizone in the medicine cabinet ( and I can’t say enough good things about an oatmeal bath when things get dicey), but sometimes it wouldn’t be enough to battle the problem (or we’d be camping), and so we did a few others things as well.
If you find yourself battling some mosquito bites, here are some tips on how to combat them:
Take Some Allergy Medicine
This is something I’ve always done when I have a ton of bites, but something people are always flabbergasted by when I suggest it. Take a Benadryl. An itchy bite is at its core an allergic reaction. Taking an allergy pill can help calm things down, and prevent you from scratching long enough that a bite has a chance of healing. This is totally overkill if you just have a bite or two, but if you end up covered in a ton of bites it can be the sweet relief you need.
Put Toothpaste On It
This one I learned from a Girl Scout leader when I was in elementary school, I think. When you’re camping and end up with troublesome bites, applying a tiny bot of toothpaste to the bite can offer some relief. Let it dry, and it should be considerably less itchy until you clean it off. Bonus for teenage me: this trick also works for zits.
Break Out The Aloe
Aloe is something you think of for burns, but it can come in handy for bites as well. Applying a little bit of aloe to the bite can help reduce the swelling and itching, and can help facilitate healing. I recommend using an aloe plant for this rather than the gels you buy at the drug store.
Grab Some Salt
Another good one if you’re camping or away from civilization: Mix finely ground salt with a tiny bit of water and make it into a paste. Apply the thick paste directly to the bite. There might be a little bit of a sting if you’ve been scratching already, but what will follow will be sweet, sweet, salty relief.