Summer is here, and while the season brings many joyful things–such as water slides, eating watermelon, and catching fireflies–it also brings mosquitoes. I seem to be somewhat of a mosquito magnet, and have learned over the years the best way to treat mosquito bites. Follow my guide to get relief from those annoying, itchy bumps.
I absolutely swear by cortisone cream during the summer months. It is a topical anti-itch product. As a corticosteroid, it treats the skin inflammation that mosquito bites cause.
Cortisone cream rubs and/or washes off easily, but is safe to reapply as needed. My preferred brand is Caldecort because it offers the maximum strength for an over the counter product.
Calamine lotion is usually the go-to treatment for chicken pox, but it works for mosquito bites as well. The active ingredient in calamine lotion is zinc oxide which is soothing to the skin (Tiny Mosquito).
Calamine lotion can be more messy to apply than traditional lotion because it is more of a liquid than a gel. I recommend using a cotton swab or cotton ball to apply it.
If you get severe reactions from mosquito bites, or if the itching is so intense that it’s preventing you from getting a good night’s rest, antihistamines may be the best option for you (University of Washington).
The only downside to antihistamines is that they can cause drowsiness. Do not take them before work or school or you will find yourself dozing off at your desk.
Benadryl is a very effective antihistamine, however, less-expensive store brands work just as well in my experience.
If traditional medicine is not for you, you can still find relief from mosquito bites. A cold compress (or a package of frozen vegetables) held against the affected skin constricts blood vessels to minimize itchiness.
If the cold compress isn’t cutting it, Burt’s Bees’s Bug Bite Relief is made of essential oils and is all-natural. It is easy to apply, as it is packaged in a tube similar to lip balm.
The most important thing to remember about mosquito bites is this: Don’t scratch them! As tempting as it may be, scratching bug bites can open up your skin and cause serious infection (Children’s National).
I once developed a staph infection from scratching my bug bites. I was incredibly lucky that the infection did not progress into MRSA. MRSA is antibiotic resistant and can be potentially fatal.