Mosquito season is here. Fueled by the heavy rains last week, eggs are hatching at an alarming rate, causing the little monsters to swarm south Florida, making life difficult for everyone who wants to enjoy a cool drink on their porch after a long day.
Mosquitoes aren't just annoying, they're carriers of some nasty diseases like West Nile virus, malaria, and dengue fever, according to the Mayo Clinic.
What to do if one of those nasty bloodsucking insects takes a bite? Although there are dozens of chemical-based remedies at the drug store, your kitchen has a host of remedies that are just as effective, a lot cheaper, and better for you and the environment. Next time a mosquito gets you, try one of these home remedies:
White distilled vinegar has antiseptic and astringent properties. Just dab some on a cotton ball and place it on the bite. Vinegar also works well on sunburn.
Place a warm tea bag directly from the hot water on your bite or soak a cotton ball in strong warm tea and apply to the bite.
Meat tenderizer contains papain, an enzyme found in papayas that breaks down the protein in meat. It also breaks down the protein in insect venom, which makes it effective in reducing pain, itching, and swelling in bites.
Salt & Water
Work a mixture of salt and water into a paste that will stick to the bite. Apply the paste, and let sit until dry. This should relieve any itch or pain. A salt paste also works well for bee stings, as it helps "lift" the stinger, allowing for easier removal.
Before modern medicine, basil oil was used to treat everything from snake bites to gastrointestinal illness. To help alleviate the itch from a bite, crush a fresh basil leaf in your hand and press the oily leaf directly on the bite.
We've never tried this, but Food.com recommends drying out the bug bite by applying the inside (meaty) part of a banana peel to the bite. They also recommend relaxing and eating the tasty banana afterward.
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Lemon and Lime Juice
Got a Key lime tree with some fruit that fell while it was still yellow? Rub the juice of it (or any lemon or lime juice) on the bite. The citrus has natural antiseptic and drying qualities.
Since the beginning of recorded history, honey has been used as an antibiotic. The honey slowly releases hydrogen peroxide and enzymes that heal the bite and reduce the risk of infection. The sticky honey also acts as a natural barrier from dirt, allowing the wound to heal.