Don’t Bug Me

Don't Bug Me

Memorial Day has come and gone and the temperature—along with outdoor gatherings—continues to grow. Sure, a barbeque that begins in the afternoon and slips into nighttime sounds inviting, but what about those bites? You know, the unrequited gifts from mosquitoes that remind you that summer has its disadvantages, too.

If you’re like me (and for your sake I hope that you are not), these bites swell into globular knobs that scar for weeks on after. But I’m working to make this summer different.

It makes sense to avoid bites altogether—which works to a certain extent. Light-colored clothing helps, as well as avoiding pools of water (like birdbaths) and the outdoors at dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

When prevention doesn’t work completely (and it won’t), treating the bite is the next important step. Clean it first with soap and water or hydrogen peroxide.

Calamine lotion is an old anti-itch friend (get the pink version and just wear it to bed), but aloe gel is my new favorite remedy—it cools, soothes, and hydrates. Natural anti-itch treatments include a dab of apple cider vinegar; salt; baking soda paste; and witch hazel. Aveeno offers a superior cream that treats and moisturizes bites.

Anti-itch treatments are not only essential to well, preventing itchiness, but also reducing bite scars. Scratching magnifies skin discoloration caused by bites. Follow treatments with vitamin E, and then sunscreen to accelerate the healing process (and minimize the accumulation of scarring).

So here’s to a summer with fewer bites and even fewer scars. Who has time for either?

Photo credits, clockwise from top-left: 1, 2, 3, 4

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