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A few days ago, I returned from a vacation. The last night I was there, we were outside for about 5 or 10 minutes, and by morning I had found at least ten mosquito bites on my arms and legs. Those thirsty little blood-suckers really had a feast, and I was paying the price. It was crazy! I was in a different place, with different “wildlife”, and it hadn’t even occurred to me that in just those few minutes outside I might get eaten alive.

Normally, I have things I use to deal with the itch of mosquito bites. I have them in with my emergency preparations (in my first aid kit), and I replace them whenever they run out or expire. I use product that kills the itch so I don’t scratch my skin until it bleeds. But I was on vacation. In fact, I had very little time to do anything about the bites, since I was leaving for the airport in less than an hour after I discovered them (when I woke up). But they were so itchy that I must have been scratching them in the night – most of the bites were already larger than the size of a quarter. I had to do something, and do it fast.

We weren’t going to be able to swing by a store on our way to the airport, plus I didn’t really want to buy more of any itch-relieving products since I already had plenty at home. (Next time, I’ll add a product to my “vacation emergency prep” items.) So what could I do with items right there, at my daughter’s house?

What things around the house can we use for insect bites?

There are several things that can help quell the itch of mosquito bites.

One thing is to put on some type of poultice, for example, using baking soda and water. Some people suggest using a solution like about a tablespoon of baking soda in a pint of water, but I prefer making it stronger. This works because it’s a strong alkaline solution. You can put some of the paste on a adhesive bandage or cotton ball taped to your skin, or just put it on for a few minutes and then wash it off, and it will help soothe the bite.

Water, either very hot or very cold, can also help reduce itchiness. Whether you prefer hot or cold is up to you – just be careful to not burn or freeze the skin. You can either hold the bite under running water (either hot or cold) or wet a washcloth with hot water and hold it to the skin until the skin tingles. This method is successful because the heat releases all the histamine in the area at once, making it so the bite is less itchy for hours.

You can also put some non-gel type of toothpaste on the bite, leaving a small glop of it over the bite. Leave it overnight, and by morning it will be less itchy because the toothpaste helps dry out the bite.

There are many other things around the house that can help with insect bites, and I may write about more of them in the future. But how did I treat my bites that morning?

To take away the itch of the mosquito bites that morning, I used my hair dryer to blow hot air on them. It may sound strange, but it really does work. For me, the several seconds (not long enough to burn the skin, but long enough so it feels quite hot) takes away the itch for quite a while.

So, please put some anti-itch treatment in your emergency pack. But if you don’t, or haven’t yet, now you know some alternate ways to deal with the intense itch of an insect bite.

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