15 Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Mosquito Bites + Prevention

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zeel Gandhi, BAMS
By Sanchari Bhattacharya, Certificate Of Natural Medicine

Mosquitoes thrive in warm, tropical environments. Their sting causes itchy red bumps on the skin. The moment you get stung, you are desperate to find ways to get rid of mosquito bites. It is a common misconception that mosquitoes thrive only in tropical climates. They can invade colder and temperate regions in spring and summer. Usually, you may experience mosquito bites frequently during warm monsoon seasons.

Mosquitoes can cause malaria, dengue, zika, and chikungunya (1). Thus, it is crucial to learn how to prevent mosquito bites effectively and get rid of the tiny, red bite marks. Keep reading to learn more about the tricks and hacks.

What Happens When A Mosquito Bites You?

Mosquitoes usually feed on nectar and other sweet things for their nutrition. It is the female mosquito that needs a blood diet to get the proteins required for the development of its eggs. It has a long piercing mouthpart known as the proboscis that helps pierce and suck the blood from underneath the animal and human skin (2).

While the mosquito feeds on the blood, it leaves behind the proteins of its saliva in your bloodstream. These proteins are meant to stop the blood from clotting so that the mosquito can draw and feed on the blood efficiently. Your body recognizes these proteins as foreign substances and initiates an immune reaction in response (3).

Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?

 When your body’s immune system is triggered, the cells produce a chemical substance called histamine in response (4). It is this histamine that causes the itching in reaction to a mosquito bite. This itching might sometimes be associated with swelling as well. These red, itchy, painful swellings are symptoms of the mosquito bite allergy known as Skeeter’s syndrome (5).

While some people might develop an itch every time they are bitten by a mosquito, sometimes the body gets used to the proteins of a particular population of mosquitoes, and the immune response might not be the same over a course of time (6). Hence, when you stay at the same place and are exposed to the same breed of mosquitoes, you might not itch anymore as your immune system is now familiar with those particular proteins.

Going further, let’s have a look at how to treat and get rid of mosquito bites effectively.

How To Get Rid Of Mosquito Bites?

Just like with any bug bites, when a mosquito stings us, we immediately feel the prick and itchiness thereafter. Sometimes, unaware of the bites, we find several swollen red bumps later on (7). Either way, it’s important not to scratch as it makes the bite worse and might lead to a wound or infection.

To help you ease the discomfort and treat the bite effectively, here are a few home remedies that you can try to bring you quick relief from the same.

Home Remedies

  • Banana Peel

You may think twice before tossing away that banana peel next time. It might seem strange, but the natural oils found in the banana peel help soothe the itch and pain of an infected mosquito bite(8). For this natural remedy, simply take the banana peel and rub its fleshy side down on the mosquito bite. Also, when there’s a cluster of bites concentrated together in a small patch of skin, applying the banana skin upside down helps soothe them all in one go.

  • Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol has an instant soothing and cooling effect on the mosquito bite. It works by denaturing the proteins in the saliva of the mosquitoes, thereby eliminating the cause of histamine response. This in turn helps relieve the itch and swelling thereof (9). Alcohol wipes or even a quick dab of your nail polish remover would work pretty well too.

  • Ice

Ice or a cold compress can help decrease the swelling and inflammation of a mosquito bite (10). While the cool sensation reduces and soothes the itch, it might take a bit longer to clear up the bite overall.

  • Aloe Vera Gel

The Aloe plant has been known to have many medicinal benefits. The aloe vera gel has proven anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe the skin in any kind of minor burns or inflammation ( 11).

You can apply any 100% aloe vera gel that’s readily available or you can simply cut open a small section of the plant, and rub the gel to the affected area. You can let it dry and repeat as often as required.

  • Baking Soda

Baking soda is a multipurpose ingredient that can easily be found in most households. Also known as sodium bicarbonate, it is not only used for baking your favorite cake but also is found to be effective in providing relief from mosquito bites (12).

  1. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water to form a paste.
  2. Apply it to the affected area.
  3. Let it sit and work on the bite for 10 minutes.
  4. Wash it off gently.

You should stop this treatment if you find your skin reacting to the same.

  • Oatmeal

Colloidal oatmeal is an effective remedy against most itches and irritations of the skin. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help soothe an itch and calm any flare-ups on the skin (13).

  1. Mix an equal amount of oatmeal and water in a bowl to form a paste.
  2. Apply it to the affected area with a washcloth.
  3. Wipe it off after letting it sit for 10 minutes.

It is also an effective natural home remedy when you have been bit by mosquitoes all over the body. In that case, you can try an oatmeal bath instead. You can simply sprinkle a cup of ground oats in a bathtub full of warm water and let yourself soak in for about 20 minutes, making sure to occasionally rub some at the bite sites.

  • Honey

 Honey is a natural ingredient that is known to have many antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (14). Just a few drops of honey on the site of the mosquito bite can reduce the inflammation and the temptation to scratch.

  • Basil

While basil is an herb that finds regular use in cooking healthy meals as well as in ayurvedic treatments, it also doubles up as an effective home remedy for mosquito bites (15). To make the basil rub, you can steep a few dried basil leaves in 2 cups of boiling water and leave the mixture to cool down. You can then dip a washcloth in this liquid and dab it on the sites of the mosquito bites. Alternatively, you can chop a few basil leaves and apply them directly to your skin.

  • Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar acts as a natural disinfectant and helps reduce the stinging and burning sensation after a mosquito bite (16). Just dabbing a few drops of vinegar on the spot of the mosquito bite helps soothe pain and relieve the itch. You can also dilute 2 cups of vinegar in your bath water to help with multiple bites all over the body. You should however stop this mosquito bite treatment if you find any reactions to the same.

  • Onion

Onions are known to have natural antimicrobial properties that help reduce any chances of infection (17, 18). Onion juice when applied to mosquito bites provides quick relief from the sting and irritation. You can simply cut any kind of onion and apply a slice to the site of the bite for a few minutes and then rinse it off well, to help heal the bite.

  • Chamomile

Chamomile tea when applied to the skin, helps soothe the irritation and reduce inflammation, helping in the healing process (19). You can simply steep a tea bag in cold water for 30 minutes and then apply it to your skin to help relieve the irritation. You can also keep it back in the fridge and reuse it as required.

  • Garlic

While garlic is known to aid in improving your heart health and other metabolic issues, it also provides effective mosquito bite relief due to its anti-inflammatory properties (20). You should, however, never apply garlic straight after cutting it out of the bulb as it might cause burning or stinging. You should mince a bit of garlic and mix it with a natural body lotion or coconut oil at room temperature to reduce its potency while still helping you get relief from the mosquito bite. You can then wash it off after 10 minutes and repeat as necessary.

OTC Remedies

  •  Calamine Lotion

Calamine lotion has been a long-time favorite when it comes to soothing skin irritations. It contains zinc oxide that works to reduce itchiness by effectively decreasing inflammation (21). This pink-colored lotion can be applied several times a day to keep the discomfort away.

  • Hydrocortisone Cream

Over-the-counter anti-itch creams are commonly found to be effective against the itch caused by mosquito bites. Such creams with at least 1 percent hydrocortisone help inhibit the inflammatory response in the body and calm down the red, swollen itchy patches of skin (22). These should however not be used for a prolonged period.

  • Antihistamines

Histamines are the compounds produced by your cells during the immune response to a mosquito bite. These cause itching and inflammation. Anti-histamines work to counteract the histamine response, thereby reducing the itch and irritation (23).

 How Long Does It Take For Mosquito Bites To Go Away?

While the saliva proteins and venom can stay in the bloodstream for a few days after a mosquito bites you, the itching and inflammation might last longer. With the above home remedies and regular precautions, it might help to heal and get rid of mosquito bites altogether in a few days.

While the bite might take some time to heal, it is the itching that’s annoying in the meantime. You should be careful not to give in to the temptation to scratch the spot as scratching it, again and again, would lead to more release of histamines and further inflammation delaying the healing process.

When To See A Doctor?

 While mosquito bites are usually harmless, there are times when they act as carriers of harmful diseases. In those cases, a mosquito bite would trigger some severe reactions like chills, fever, headache, and body pain. When this happens, it’s best to consult a health practitioner and get the required blood work done to rule out the commonly prevalent mosquito-borne diseases in your region.

Along with being tender, red, and swollen, mosquito bites might cause visible inflammation in other parts of your face or skin as well, even leading to breathlessness at times. If you find yourself to be allergic to mosquito bites in any way, it becomes crucial to get it checked by a doctor as early as possible (24).

While you know now how to treat mosquito bites effectively, it is always better to take certain precautions to avoid being bitten by them in the first place.

Prevention Tips

  • Full Sleeves

Mosquitoes tend to be more active early in the morning and around dusk hours. It helps to keep your body covered when you go out during these hours. Especially, when kids go out to play in the evening hours, they should preferably wear full-sleeved clothes to stay protected.

  • Anti-repellent Creams And Lotion

There are a variety of mosquito repellent creams, lotions, and sprays available these days that help keep the annoying mosquitoes away. These usually are infused with herbal oils and chemicals that ward off mosquitoes with their natural fragrance (25). Also, make sure to check if the particular mosquito repellent you want to use is safe for babies, kids, and pregnant women.

  • Mosquito Net

If you stay in a place that is usually warm and humid throughout the year, it helps to have certain physical barriers in place. A mosquito net comes in very handy in such places to keep you protected from mosquito bites while you sleep. Mosquito screens fitted to doors and windows also keep the mosquitoes from entering your premises.

  • Proper Water Sanitization

Mosquitoes breed and flourish in stagnant waters. Hence, make sure you keep your surroundings clean and free of accumulating water. You should regularly check old buckets, tires, swamps, and even swimming pools to get rid of any long-standing dirty water.

Mosquito bites are harmless and usually resolve by themselves in a few hours. However, they can be itchy and annoying. The presence of red, swollen bumps indicates that your immune system is functioning properly and is attempting to prevent foreign contaminants from spreading in your body. You can speed up this recovery process by following these simple mosquito bites home remedies. These remedies are effective as they feature ingredients with anti-inflammatory, soothing, or disinfectant properties. You can also use OTC lotions and creams to reduce the painful itch. It is recommended to wear full sleeves tops or use anti-repellent creams to prevent mosquito bites.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do bites itch more at night?

During the day, the body’s cortisol levels are higher, which has a natural anti-inflammatory effect. Low cortisol levels and a lack of outside distractions may make bites feel more itchy at night.

Why do my mosquito bites get so big?

The more a mosquito feeds and injects saliva onto your skin, the larger the mosquito bite site can get. Some individuals are also more sensitive to the saliva of mosquitoes and may have a greater reaction in terms of swelling and itchiness, which leads to a bigger bump.

How many times can one mosquito bite?

There is no fixed number of times a mosquito can bite as it can bite any number of times it feels like feeding, till it’s full.

Key Takeaways

  • As your immune system reacts to mosquito bites, you develop red, swollen bumps and an intense itch.
  • Banana peel, honey, and onion are simple home remedies that soothe mosquito bites.
  • You are less likely to be bitten by mosquitoes when you wear full sleeves and use a mosquito repellant spray.

References:

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Mosquito-borne Diseases
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30115330/
  2. The Biology Of Mosquitoes
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281733093_The_Biology_of_Mosquitoes
  3. Mosquito Saliva Alone Has Profound Effects On The Human Immune System
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5957326/
  4. The Role Of Histamine In The Regulation Of Immune Responses
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16354958/
  5. A Mini-review On Skeeter Syndrome Or Large Local Allergy To Mosquito Bites
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318360769_A_MINI-REVIEW_ON_SKEETER_SYNDROME_OR_LARGE_LOCAL_ALLERGY_TO_MOSQUITO_BITES
  6. The Innate And Adaptive Response To Mosquito Saliva And Plasmodium Sporozoites In The Skin
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4405444/
  7. Insect Bites And Stings – Symptoms
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/insect-bites-and-stings/symptoms/
  8. A Review On Multiple Uses Of Banana Peel
    https://www.ijsdr.org/papers/IJSDR2003024.pdf
  9. Chemical Disinfectants
    https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/disinfection-methods/chemical.html
  10. Tips To Prevent And Treat Bug Bites
    https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/injured-skin/bites/prevent-treat-bug-bites
  11. Anti-inflammatory And Wound Healing Activity Of A Growth Substance In Aloe Vera
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8169808/
  12. Mosquito Bite Symptoms And Treatment
    https://www.cdc.gov/mosquitoes/mosquito-bites/symptoms.html
  13. Oatmeal In Dermatology: A Brief Review
    https://ijdvl.com/oatmeal-in-dermatology-a-brief-review/
  14. Honey In Dermatology And Skin Care: A Review
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24305429/
  15. Antibacterial Activity Of Basil Oil (Ocimum Basilicum L) And Basil Oil Nanoemulsion
    https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1742-6596/1524/1/012060
  16. Vinegar: Medicinal Uses And Antiglycemic Effect
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC1785201/
  17. A Comparison Of The Antifungal Properties Of Onion “(Allium Cepa)” Ginger “(Zingiber Officinale)” And Garlic (Allium Sativum) Against “Aspergillus Flavus” Aspergillus Niger And Cladosporium Herbarum
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236163001_A_comparison_of_the_antifungal_properties_of_onion_Allium_cepa_Ginger_Zingiber_officinale_and_garlic_Allium_sativum_against_Aspergillus_flavus_Aspergillus_niger_and_Cladosporium_herbarum_Res
  18. Antibacterial Effect of Onion
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311535680_Antibacterial_Effect_of_Onion
  19. Chamomile: A Herbal Medicine Of The Past With Bright Future
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
  20. Garlic In Dermatology
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4211483/
  21. Zinc Therapy In Dermatology: A Review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4120804/
  22. Comparative Study Of Herbal Extracted Gel And 1% Hydrocortisone Gel In The Treatment Of Mosquito Bite Reaction
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/276495157_Comparative_Study_of_Herbal_Extracted_Gel_and_1_Hydrocortisone_Gel_in_the_Treatment_of_Mosquito_Bite_Reaction
  23. Antihistamines
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/antihistamines/
  24. Allergies Overview – “Symptoms” “Diagnosis” Treatment & Management
    https://www.aaaai.org/Conditions-Treatments/Allergies/Allergies-Overview
  25. Study Of Citronella Leaf Based Herbal Mosquito Repellents Using Natural Binders
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304488843_Study_of_Citronella_leaf_based_herbal_mosquito_repellents_using_natural_binders
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Sanchari has over 10 years of experience as a teacher and a writer and has done a certificate course in... more

Dr. Zeel Gandhi

(BAMS)
Dr. Zeel Gandhi is an Ayurvedic doctor and an expert at providing holistic solutions for health problems encompassing Internal medicine,... more

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