The natural approach to say goodbye to bugs this summer
This is the season for swimming, bushwalks and barbeques – unfortunately, it’s also time for mosquitoes, flies, ants and midges.
Some bugs bite you because they see you as food; ticks and fleas, for example. Others, however, are more aggressive and attack you because they regard you as a threat, and their bites are often far worse than their buzz. These include wasps and bees, which deposit a stinger in your skin that has a little sac of poison attached to it which keeps pulsing its contents into your body. Mosquitoes inject you with a little saliva that leaves a maddeningly itchy bump. Some people may find that they react worse to mosquito and ant bites and that the lumps become hard and hot. Try these natural remedies to stop scratching and help your skin recover:
- Apply an ice pack to numb the area and decrease the inflammation that causes the itching, and also to bring the swelling down.
- Tea tree oil, peppermint oil and lavender oil will all reduce swelling and ease any redness or infection. Put a drop or two on a cotton wool ball and apply several times a day. Calendula cream will help the sting site to heal, and prevent any scarring.
- Try an aspirin paste to reduce swelling and inflammation. Crush two aspirin tablets with a mortar and pestle or meat hammer. Add a few drops of water to make a gritty paste, and then pat onto the affected area. Aspirin contains carboxylic acid, which neutralises insect venom.
The power of prevention
Use an insect repellent to protect your skin from further attack. Conventional repellents may contain picaridin or DEET (N,N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide); although effective in deterring insects, this ingredient is not only a skin irritant but a known neurotoxin. Nor are its negative side effects confined to humans – studies show DEET infects waterways and soil, harming animals and fish.
At Go Vita, we are big fans of a natural plant-based Australian-made product called NoBites. This contains PMD (p-Menthane-3,8-diol), a unique active component made from the oil of the lemon-scented gum tree (Eucalyptus citriodora). PMD is a natural and sustainable resource that can be found all over the world. Unlike DEET, PMD is natural, sustainable, eco-friendly and safe for adults and children, including those with sensitive skin. As well as being gentle on the skin, it is harmless to animals and will not stain clothing. It is also highly effective, with clinical trials confirming that it works just as well – if not better – than DEET. PMD is recommended by The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for repelling disease-carrying mosquitoes.
If someone has been stung by a bee or wasp and they then have trouble breathing, feel faint, or have swelling in the mouth or throat, a rapid pulse or hives, dial an ambulance or drive the person to the nearest hospital emergency department. These are all signs of anaphylaxis, which is a potentially fatal allergic reaction.
Information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to replace advice or treatment from qualified healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to treat or diagnose. Always consult your healthcare professional before taking nutritional or herbal supplements. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have any allergies or diagnosed conditions, or are taking prescription medications, always consult your healthcare professional before taking nutritional or herbal supplements.