Here at The Natural Patch Co., we love to educate our friends and family on everything mosquito-related. We are obsessed with all things natural. No yucky chemicals or gross toxins here: just good clean, fun adventures—mosquitoes not invited.
That’s why this article focuses on how to handle those pesky bug bites that plague the warmer months of the year. Plus, we’ll cover how you can help your family relieve these itchy reactions so you can all enjoy the great outdoors even more!
So, grab a notebook and take a look at our research:
What Causes a Bug Bite?
The obvious answer: A bug.
But that really doesn’t help us understand WHY these bites happen or WHY they’re so itchy!
Those itchy spots we call bug bites or mosquito bites... are actually caused by your own body. That’s right—your body creates that itchy reaction to the mosquito.
Mosquitoes don’t just bite us; they actually numb the area they’re feasting on by injecting their saliva into our bodies.
This explains why we often don’t even notice the bite happening, and we’re left scratching our heads (and our bites) wondering, “When did that happen?”
Your body is designed to react to allergens—it’s how it keeps us safe! But sometimes, this reaction is more extreme than normal. Some people are more allergic to the mosquito’s saliva than others, and that means they might have larger welts or blisters at the site of the bite.
All Bites Are Not Created Equal
You might have noticed that your kiddo suddenly has a huge red bump on their arm. This can be super concerning if you’ve never seen them have this reaction to a bite before. You might be left wondering if it was a mosquito, spider, bee, or another insect that left that mark.
Mosquito bites can range from teeny tiny specks to several-inch raised welts that cause skin irritation and even flu-like symptoms.
Suppose the bite looks concerning, or you see your child having other reactions such as difficulty breathing, fever, or body aches. In that case, it’s a great idea to have them seen by a doctor ASAP to make sure there’s not something more serious going on.
Because mosquito bites can vary so much, you might be wondering WHY you suddenly see blisters, hives, or large welts instead of the small bumps you’re familiar with.
There can be a few reasons for these reactions. First, you might have encountered a new type of mosquito.
Did you know that there are 3,500+ types of mosquitoes out there? Only a couple hundred will bite people, but some of those will cause more extreme reactions. Or, you may have been bit by that specific type of mosquito for the first time.
Allergies and Mosquitoes
These more severe allergic reactions, sometimes called “Skeeter Syndrome.” This reaction is more typical in youngsters who haven’t developed a natural immunity to the mosquitoes yet or in people who have recently moved to a new area that has a different climate and new types of mosquitoes.
While generally considered less severe than wasp and bee allergies, anaphylaxis can be a concern. Allergies aren’t mosquitoes' only threat. They can also pass on Dengue Fever, Zika Virus, and Malaria.
Thankfully, we’ve been able to find some solutions that can help even the itchiest of mosquito bites.
Still have that notepad? Awesome, we’re getting to the good stuff.
What Can You Do To Treat a Mosquito Bite?
There are so many products out there... lotions and sprays and oils, oh my! How do you know what to choose? Standing in the supermarket or pharmacy and staring at the wall of itch relief products with an uncomfortable child itching at their arms is never a good time, so we’ve done the research for you.
Think of this as your “Mosquito Bite Cheat Sheet” and read on for everything you need to know about calming these bites. Plus, discover insect repellents and the best bite prevention tactics.
1. Cold Compress
This might be one of the more simple ways to soothe an itchy bite, and it works for more than just mosquito bites. Almost all types of bites and stings, including many spider bites, can be calmed by applying an ice pack or cold compress to the site.
That’s because the body’s initial reaction is to send cortisol to these areas, and that’s what actually makes those bumps so itchy. When you cool down the area, you decrease the inflammation and swelling by numbing the nerves that feel that itchy sensation that make you want to claw at your skin.
This is an instant-relief method, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t last too long.
That’s why you might want to pair it with one of the other solutions listed below:
2. Topical Medicated Products
There are all types of medicated creams, sprays, and liquids that you can apply to your skin. If you haven’t already, this might be something that you discuss with your child’s physician before applying. Some kids are sensitive to these products, or they might be too young.
Medicated creams, sprays, and liquids contain a variety of ingredients.
Here’s a list of some of the most popular that you might see on the shelves:
- Hydrocortisone: This steroid usually comes as a cream, but sometimes you can find it in a liquid or spray that can be applied to the affected area. Hydrocortisone cream can usually be applied several times per day to relieve itching.
- Diphenhydramine: This is a popular antihistamine that can be taken orally or applied to the skin through a cream or liquid solution to relieve allergic reactions and itchy spots caused by bugs or plants. With all oral antihistamines, make sure to read the warning label carefully.
- Benzocaine: This product is used for different types and severities of bites, stings, and plant reactions. Instead of just relieving the itch, it also numbs the entire area. Typically this comes in a liquid form that’s applied with a swab. This is often used for more severe reactions or large areas of swelling.
3. Topical Natural Products
It's no secret that ingredients like DEET and Picaridin have been at the forefront of parents' worries. While severe reactions might require some medicated treatments, you might prefer more natural products for your family’s skin in the case of typical mosquito bite reactions.
Thankfully, there are SO MANY natural options out there, like these:
Instant Itch Relief Patches: We’re a bit biased, but we think our all-natural patches are pretty awesome! They come in packets of colored stickers that kids love and adults can enjoy too.
And guess what? We’re backed by science. Our patches are made by a team of entomologists from ALL. OVER. THE. WORLD. How cool is that?
Baking Soda: Home remedies like these are probably already in your kitchen. But it can do more than help you bake a cake; it also can relieve itchy bug bites. You can make your own paste with baking soda, water, and a bit of moisturizer to help your skin stay hydrated and itch-free.
The downside of this is that it’s often a kind of goopy paste. It takes a bit to dry, and wiggly kiddos might have some trouble with waiting for that to happen.
- Essential Oils: Peppermint is probably the most well-known essential oil for itch relief because of its menthol properties, but there are actually several other oils that can lend a hand. Lavender, chamomile, tea tree, and rose geranium are also known to help with itchy bites. Additionally, the oil of lemon eucalyptus has proven helpful.
A Buzz-Worthy Conclusion
Bug bites stink, but we hope we’ve helped you learn a little more about the options you have to make them a little less miserable for you and your family. The last thing you want to do is cancel plans or avoid going out because your kids are cranky and itchy from bug-related allergies or a mosquito attack.
While mosquitoes are relentless and irritating, and their bites can derail an evening, you can prevent this. Order some of our all-natural BuzzPatch mosquito repellent stickers to keep those mean bugs away from your family all season long.
We love natural solutions - especially when it comes to our children’s sensitive skin. It’s always a welcome relief to know exactly what you’re putting on their bodies, and our scientifically-backed formulas are created only with natural ingredients.
We hope this article has helped you prepare for outdoor (and indoor) adventures, and you have lots of ideas on how you can prevent your kiddos from scratching at those bug bites all season long.