When it comes to enjoying the great outdoors in summer, mosquito bites seem to be an unavoidable evil. While bees and wasps inject venom when they sting, mosquitoes simply bite to feed on your blood. The bumps and itchiness that follow come from an anticoagulant that the mosquito injects to prevent your blood from clotting, which triggers a mild allergic reaction that includes the typical round, red bumps.
Although it rarely happens, mosquito bites can trigger a severe anaphylactic reaction or transmit certain diseases, like malaria or West Nile virus. Most of the time, however, mosquito bites simply itch.
For immediate relief, try an antihistamine cream or stick to help the itch and swelling. Don’t have any in stock? Hit the kitchen, and hold a refrigerated, dampened green tea bag on the bite, recommends Everyday Health skin and beauty expert Jessica Wu, a dermatologist in Los Angeles and author of Feed Your Face. The cold helps soothe the itch and compounds in the tea help with inflammation.” Another option: Take a soak in a soothing oatmeal bath.
For additional creative ways to cope with bug bites, we asked Everyday Health Facebook fans for their out-of-the-medicine cabinet ideas (honey! aloe! batteries?!), then vetted them with Dr. Wu. Try one next time mosquitoes strike.