It’s vacation time and we’re spending more time outdoors. This means we are exposed to the more annoying and painful aspects of summer – insect bites and stings.
There are many products available at the local pharmacy to treat this. Some treat the initial bite or sting, others treat the itchy aftermath.
What about natural remedies? Few studies have actually looked at them. But if they work for you and don’t irritate already inflamed skin, then it probably can’t hurt to keep going.
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Why do insects bite and sting?
When insects bite and sting, they either defend themselves or need something from us (like blood).
Regardless of your motivation, you may experience a painful or itchy reaction, sometimes a severe allergic reaction, or even a debilitating illness.
While insects sometimes get a bad rap, there are relatively few that actually pose serious threats to our health.
Many types of flies, particularly mosquitoes, bite. In most cases, they need blood for nutrition or egg development. The method of “biting” can vary between different types of flies. While mosquitoes inject a needle-like tube to suck our blood, others chew or scratch our skin.
While researchers have been studying what happens when Mosquitoes biteThere is still a lot to learn how to handle the bites.
Therefore, avoiding mosquito bites is especially important with some doses transmit pathogens that make us sick.
A / Prof Cameron Webb
Fleas, lice, mites and ticks
There are many other insects (like bed bugs, fleas, lice) and other arthropods (like mites, ticks). this bite.
However, it is difficult to determine which insect has bitten us solely because of the bite reaction. This is generally because different people react differently to this Injected saliva When they start sucking our blood
Bees, wasps, ants
Then there are stinging insects like bees, wasps and ants. These usually just defend themselves.
But the poison they inject when stabbing can not only be painful, but also cause possibly severe allergic reactions.
What’s the best way to handle a sting or bite?
If you have potentially severe allergic reactions Bites or stingsGet appropriate medical treatment right away. But for many other people, it is the initial painful reaction and itchy aftermath that requires attention.
Despite how common insect bites can be, there are surprisingly little formal research how best to treat them. Most of the research is focused on insect-borne diseases.
Also for recommended treatments, There is little evidence They actually work. Instead, the recommendations are based on expert opinion and clinical experience.
For example, health authorities promote some general advice for the treatment of insect bites and stings. This includes the use of pain relievers (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen). They also recommend applying a cold compress (such as an ice pack soaked in cold water, ice, or a damp cloth) to the area of the sting or bite to reduce inflammation and ease some discomfort.
However, if you don’t do anything, the discomfort from the bite or sting will subside after a few days. The body recovers quickly, just like a cut or bruise.
If you continue to experience pain for more than a few days or if you have any signs of an allergic reaction, see a doctor.
What about the itch?
As soon as the initial pain subsides, the itching begins. That’s because the body reacts to that Injected saliva when insects bite.
For many people, this is incredibly frustrating and all too easy to get caught up in a cycle of itching and scratching.
Do itchy insect bites make us sick?
Do Home Remedies Work?
If you’re looking for a home remedy to treat insect bites and the itchy itching that comes with them, a quick internet search will keep you busy for days.
Possible home remedies These include: tea bags, banana, tea tree or other essential oils, a paste made from baking soda, vinegar, aloe vera, oatmeal, honey and even onions.
There is little evidence for this work. But not many have actually been scientifically rated.
However, if a home remedy works for you and doesn’t cause additional irritation, there may be no harm in using it if you get relief.
With so much uncertainty about how to treat insect bites and stings, it may be best if we avoid exposure at all. There is lots of insect repellants Available at your local pharmacy or supermarket to do so safely and effectively.