Bug Bites: Expert Tips to Properly Treat That Annoying Itch!

bug bite

Despite taking preventive steps like using bug sprays and using citronella candles, bug bites still unfortunately happen. 

After being bit by a bug, you are likely to experience irritating itchiness (due to the body's reaction to insect salvia), but there are steps you can take to ease your bug bites. HuffPo spoke to experts who shared the best tips, suggestions, and steps to take after getting a bug bite. 

The experts say in addition to mosquitos, you can also be bitten by fleas, gnats, midges, fire ants, ticks, and spiders -- and these expert-backed tips can help after these critters have chomped down on you:

Take preventive steps after the first bite: Bug bites are not usually a one-time event. If you are outside and feel a bite, use bug spray or go inside right away.

Wash the bite: Aesthetician and dermatological nurse Natalie Aguilar suggests, "When a mosquito breaks the skin, its saliva enters, and our body instantly reacts against their saliva creating what’s known as a histamine response — which most of the time creates a welt.” She notes warm soapy water can help to remove the saliva.

Do not itch the bite: This is hard to do, but scratching the bite area can release more histamine and make the sensation worse.

Use ice or a cold compress: The experts note doing this for 2 to 3 minutes can reduce swelling and minimize the itchy feeling. Also helpful is refrigerated aloe vera gel, which will help to soothe your skin.

Use an over-the-counter cream or medication: Products with pramocaine (a mild topical anesthetic), menthol, creams that contain hydrocortisone, medications with diphenhydramine, applying rubbing alcohol, baking powder mixed with water (and also oatmeal mixed with water) until it becomes a paste, and calamine lotion can all provide relief.

Prevention works best: The experts urge everyone to avoid standing water (like lakes and rivers), apply insect repellent with DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus, and also wear long-sleeved clothes. To help protect infants and babies, use an insect net or covering on strollers and car seats.

As always, if you believe you have a bug bite and it becomes infected, please seek medical attention and advice.

More: Does This Device to Help with Bug Bites Really Work?

More: What is This Itchy Pregnancy Rash?

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