Sunday, 6 December 2015

Hot water for insect bites ~ get rid of that stinging itchiness!

Insect bites from mosquitoes, sandflies, and fleas can be extremely sore, itchy and maddening.  Hot water really is the best way I have found to stop the itchiness and pain.

Ouch!  Look at that redness!  My skin is sensitive and untended bites can drive me nuts!  I had left these two overnight, and would have been much more comfortable if I had attended to them as soon as I became aware of them.  Fortunately the treatment I describe here works just as well on old bites as on new ones.

For this hot water treatment all you need is sufficiently hot water in a bowl - just as hot as you can stand it without flinching, a soft cloth to wet and apply it with, and a towel to pat it dry, so it's very cheap as well as effective.

It may be hard to believe that this simple method works so well but I can assure you that in my experience it does.  In any case trying it out costs next to nothing so there is little too lose, but please don't overdo the heat of the water and hurt yourself!  Always apply the hot water with a cloth that is cool enough to comfortably handle!

The method is so simple:
  • Heat your water, either in an electric kettle or pot.  
  • If boiled take it off the heat and allow it to cool somewhat so that you can comfortably squeeze your cloth in it.  Pouring it into a bowl or cup will help it cool sufficiently.
  • Put your cloth into it and squeeze it slightly so that water doesn't go everywhere!
  • Hold it on to the bitten area, until it has even slightly cooled.
  • Wet the cloth again and once more hold it on.  Keep up that heat!
  • Repeat this for about five minutes.  

By that time the itch will probably be gone for good.  The redness and swelling may remain, but the itch is unlikely to return.  If it does, treat it again the same way.

Having said that, it is not always convenient or even possible to do this.  For such times I also keep a tube of antihistamine ointment in the cupboard.  It's much less effective though, and requires repeated applications over a period of days.  

When I have access to hot water and ten minutes or so to spare, the treatment described here is certainly the best I know. 

To find my other articles about health and suggestions for the household medicine chest you can click on the link below:

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