The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
September 16, 2013

What’s Your Advice for Plastic-free, Natural, Mosquito Bite Remedy?

imageSo, I kind of screwed up. I brought a tin of Chagrin Valley bug repellent with me to Hawaii, intending to use it and review it on this blog. (We don’t really have too many biting bugs in the Bay Area, so I hadn’t had a chance to try it.)

It seems great. Comes in a metal tin and contains only Organic Virgin Shea Butter; Organic Jojoba oil; Organic Unrefined Beeswax; Organic Neem oil; Organic Essential oils of Lemon Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, Citronella, Lavender, Rosemary, Lemongrass, Basil, Thyme.

Yesterday, Michael and I were only planning to hang out in town, so I didn’t bother applying the bug repellant,
but we ended up driving up to see Wailua Falls. The falls were pretty from a distance, but I noticed people standing at the top of the falls and thought, if they can do that, why can’t we?

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So we looked for a path, and found one… with a sign saying, “Area Closed. Danger. Steep Cliff. You Will Die If You Take This Path!! For Real.” So of course, that’s the way we decided to go.  I took off my flip flops so I could grip the dirt with my toes, and down we went.

No sooner were we half way down the “cliff” then I noticed lots of little flying things around my feet. They didn’t whine like mosquitoes, and we were already halfway down, so I just said to myself, “Screw it,” and ignored them.

We made it to the top of the falls!

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And then headed back.

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Coming back, we chose an even steeper, more treacherous route and ended up getting separated at the top in fields of dense, high grasses that were over our heads. I notice I didn’t take any pix during that part… more interested in finding the road and each other and not dying.

That night, we celebrated our success at coming through our little adventure unscathed. I didn’t notice the scathedness of my ankles and feet until early this morning when I woke up itching like crazy. Holy cow.

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Yep, those bugs were definitely mosquitoes. So I Googled “natural mosquito bite remedies” to figure out what I could do at 5am in a hotel room with things I already had. This article from The Healthy Home Economist, and especially the long list of comments at the end, gave me hope. The most promising solutions seemed to be banana peel rubbed on the bites (which we had bought earlier at a local farmers market), apple cider vinegar (brought for conditioning hair), or baking soda (brought for deodorant and washing hair.)

I tried the banana peel solution last night, and believe it or not, it worked! The itching mostly subsided right away.

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I tried apple cider vinegar this morning, and it felt good going on, but the itching came back pretty quickly. So I used more banana peel, and right now my legs feel pretty good… as long as I don’t touch them.

Another solution recommended often is tea tree oil, but I didn’t bring any with me. I will next time I travel. What advice do you have for soothing itchy mosquito bites without using something in a plastic bottle or tube?

I’ll be using the bug repellent every time I go out now, but I probably can’t give you a real review since I’m already covered in bites.

46 comments
In.gredients – Possibly the coolest grocery
In.gredients – Possibly the coolest grocery

[…] don’t forget, I was sitting outside. And after my incident with the mosquitoes in Hawaii, I wanted to be careful. I asked if there were biting bugs in Austin. Oh yes, Erica told me. […]

theparsley
theparsley

The simplest solution is the best: hot water.  As hot as you can stand without burning yourself.  The actual scientific reason why this is effective is that the cells in your body that produce histamine (the immune system chemical that stimulates inflammation) have a limited output rate.  The addition of heat overstimulates the cells in that area and makes them dump their payload too fast.  So when you're running hot water over the area, there will be a temporary increase in itching - if you grit your teeth through that, then you should experience a decrease in itching soon after.  The cells take a little while to "recharge", which can vary, but you're probably good for about 4 hours before you have to repeat.  I think there's also a secondary benefit in increasing blood flow, which would help your body clear the irritant out of the area more rapidly.

This method is good for any itchy kind of bug bite and rash - poison ivy, eczema - within reason.  If you've got a really bad rash with open weeping sores or something like that you should use common sense, knock off the home remedies and seek medical attention.  I've never heard of the spoon method before but that seems like an ingenious solution if you've only got a small area to treat and/or don't have access to running hot water. The trick either way is "as hot as possible without burning yourself."  I am not always so good at judging this exact point.

Anne
Anne

I read somewhere that a type of geranium/pellargonium (sp.?) can deter mozzies.  You scrunch the leaves up and its oil comes out - rub it on.

Also, methylated spirits (container? Is metho bad for the environment?) STOPPED the sting of a wasp I was bitten by many years ago - an old wives' remedy.

natureforall
natureforall

I don't have a suggestion, but I am appreciating all of the submissions.  So interesting!

RaveAboutSkin
RaveAboutSkin

I like to use ice cubes made w whole milk. but be sure not to get ice burn. it soothes and brings down inflammation. Luv all the great tips! keep em comin.

@RaveAboutSkin 

RaveAboutSkin
RaveAboutSkin

I like to use ice cubes made w whole milk. but be sure not to get ice burn. it soothes and brings down inflammation. Luv all the great tips! keep em comin.

RaveAboutSkin

MMT
MMT

BethTerry It snuck up on us but I may come!  I've let all the Down to Earth's know, as they are all about that.   Anyone have a room they want to split?  Let me know.. (you can text or call me too if needed)

BethTerry
BethTerry

Hi Maleña. We're on Kauai. I'll be on Oahu on Friday. Are you coming???

guest
guest

Something you can buy anywhere, as soon as you get off the plane for about $1.00:  Ammonia!  It's a sure fire cure for mosquito bites.  Use the toilet paper in your room or pack some cotton balls in you luggage because you know you just might need them!   Get them good and wet and you'll never feel them again!

Good Luck on your next adventure!

Lori from Montana


MMT
MMT

Beth!  Our 1st aid balm works in Glass:  Taylor's OR BALM! Baby Diaper Balm...you can get it at Down to Earth..are you on Oahu yet?  I can bring you some, but they might be gone by then.  Also, our SHUE BUG, I could send to you in glass with a metal cap..let me know!  I didn't know you were already in Hawaii, but we make stuff that WORKS, since we live here!

MMT
MMT

Beth!  Our 1st aid balm works in Glass:  Taylor's OR BALM! Baby Diaper Balm...you can get it at Down to Earth..are you on Oahu yet?  I can bring you some, but they might be gone by then.  Also, our SHUE BUG, I could send to you in glass with a metal cap..let me know!  I didn't know you were already in Hawaii, but we make stuff that WORKS, since we live here!

BethTerry
BethTerry

Mark, we drove all the way up to pu'u o kila lookout yesterday and Michael acknowledged the existence of god. Today, we did a boat tour of the napali coast and snorkeled off the boat. Will post pix on Facebook.

Chelsea Gale
Chelsea Gale

I've had friends tell me that lavender oil works. Ice might be helpful to numb and reduce inflammation, at least temporarily. Good luck!

Chelsea Gale
Chelsea Gale

I've had friends tell me that lavender oil works. Ice might be helpful to numb and reduce inflammation, at least temporarily. Good luck!

SweaterDoll
SweaterDoll

Mint toothpaste works great. Takes the itch away and then they heal fast. I use Tom's of Maine and have for many years but the old Crest (Ick!) and others also worked when i was a kid. If you have mint growing at your home, you can also crush some leaves (or chew on them a moment), apply and wrap some gauze around to keep it on like a poultice for a bit until the itch really goes away.

SweaterDoll
SweaterDoll

Mint toothpaste works great. Takes the itch away and then they heal fast. I use Tom's of Maine and have for many years but the old Crest (Ick!) and others also worked when i was a kid. If you have mint growing at your home, you can also crush some leaves (or chew on them a moment), apply and wrap some gauze around to keep it on like a poultice for a bit until the itch really goes away.

Mark
Mark

I remember that sign when I was there. Too chicken to be a scofflaw and hang out in the falls. Hope the itching stops soon. Have you been up to Moklele and the Kalalau lookout yet?

Guest
Guest

I just use a fresh lemon (cut, obviously!) and rub it on the bites!

HeatherClisby
HeatherClisby

I use Witch Hazel and/or Tea Tree oil - works every time.

HeatherClisby
HeatherClisby

I use Witch Hazel and/or Tea Tree oil - works every time.

TigerLee
TigerLee

Many itch remedies contain ammonia, so you could use that. I did see one that combines baking soda and ammonia into a paste. Or you could pee on yourself, I guess.

TigerLee
TigerLee

Many itch remedies contain ammonia, so you could use that. I did see one that combines baking soda and ammonia into a paste. Or you could pee on yourself, I guess.

Cory at Aquarian Bath
Cory at Aquarian Bath

A few years ago one of my customers told me that my Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Balm takes the itch out of bites, so I started trying it and it really works.  Helped my brother also who was going mad itching a bunch of nasty bites on his leg.

laurawk1
laurawk1

This is hard advice to follow and admittedly doesn't always work, but the more I scratch moquito bites, the more they itch, especially in the beginning.  If I can ignore them, they stop itching and go away much faster.  So if the banana peel works, do that and resist scratching them!!

laurawk1
laurawk1

This is hard advice to follow and admittedly doesn't always work, but the more I scratch moquito bites, the more they itch, especially in the beginning.  If I can ignore them, they stop itching and go away much faster.  So if the banana peel works, do that and resist scratching them!!

Heather Itzla
Heather Itzla

a) Do NOT scratch them - pat them if you must and b) I found this one on Pinterest and it really worked for me: place a spoon in hot water for a few seconds (enough to get the spoon hot, and then place it directly on the bite until the spoon cools - supposedly it breaks down the proteins that play some factor in the itchiness - whatever the science, it's my go-to bite-cure --- Good luck and don't scratch (looks like that suggestion might be too late... :)

Heather Itzla
Heather Itzla

a) Do NOT scratch them - pat them if you must and b) I found this one on Pinterest and it really worked for me: place a spoon in hot water for a few seconds (enough to get the spoon hot, and then place it directly on the bite until the spoon cools - supposedly it breaks down the proteins that play some factor in the itchiness - whatever the science, it's my go-to bite-cure --- Good luck and don't scratch (looks like that suggestion might be too late... :)

KathyG
KathyG

I've had good luck with hydrogen peroxide.  The sooner it's applied the better

KathyG
KathyG

I've had good luck with hydrogen peroxide.  The sooner it's applied the better

Melissa Brown
Melissa Brown

Cover up. Mosquitos don't bite through pants. I think light colors are best. The EWG has tips too.

Melissa Brown
Melissa Brown

Cover up. Mosquitos don't bite through pants. I think light colors are best. The EWG has tips too.

v
v

Also try peppermint essential oil for bite-relief. 

judith
judith

It's been a long time since I had to fight off mosquitoes in the woods, I don't know what I'd use to fend them off.  At home I just use Mexican vanilla, full strength.  I put about 1/2 teaspoon in the palm of my hand and rub my hands together and then rub this all over my exposed legs and arms.  It works great for me and smells so much better than that commercial stuff. 

Petra Nass
Petra Nass

Advice from my dermatologist for fresh mosquito bites: she told me that you should let warm water run over them (should be warmer than your normal body temperature, but be careful not to burn your skin!). Just take a very warm shower, maybe 3 to 5 minutes. She explained that the chemical stuff the mosquitos inject when they bite is sensitive to heat and disintegrates (not sure if that's the right word?). In any case, what's left afterwards is supposed not to cause the allergic reaction which leads to the itching red spots. I've tried it a few times and it seemed to work within the first few hours. (Well, the earlier, the better it works)

Petra Nass
Petra Nass

Advice from my dermatologist for fresh mosquito bites: she told me that you should let warm water run over them (should be warmer than your normal body temperature, but be careful not to burn your skin!). Just take a very warm shower, maybe 3 to 5 minutes. She explained that the chemical stuff the mosquitos inject when they bite is sensitive to heat and disintegrates (not sure if that's the right word?). In any case, what's left afterwards is supposed not to cause the allergic reaction which leads to the itching red spots. I've tried it a few times and it seemed to work within the first few hours. (Well, the earlier, the better it works)

BethTerry
BethTerry moderator

Hi Maleña. We're on Kauai. I'll be on Oahu on Friday. Are you coming???

BethTerry
BethTerry moderator

Mark, we drove all the way up to pu'u o kila lookout yesterday and Michael acknowledged the existence of god. Today, we did a boat tour of the napali coast and snorkeled off the boat. Will post pix on Facebook.

MMT
MMT

@BethTerry It snuck up on us but I may come!  I've let all the Down to Earth's know, as they are all about that.   Anyone have a room they want to split?  Let me know.. (you can text or call me too if needed)


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  1. […] don’t forget, I was sitting outside. And after my incident with the mosquitoes in Hawaii, I wanted to be careful. I asked if there were biting bugs in Austin. Oh yes, Erica told me. […]