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Natural Home remedies: treating a variety of insect bites

Following on from our blog on 1st July (insert link) on natural home remedies to treat wasp and bee stings, MOLLY MAID, the house cleaning experts, thought a few ideas on how to treat insect bites and ticks would also be welcome.

Natural remedies for insect bites:

• Rub an ice cube on the insect bite immediately. This help to decrease the inflammation that causes itching.

• Underarm deodorants have ingredients that reduce skin irritation. If you are stung, try any deodorant and see if it works.

• Apply a drop or two of peppermint oil. It has a cooling effect, and also increases circulation to the bite, speeding the healing process. Alternatively, if you have toothpaste that contains peppermint oil, apply a dab.

• Look for an anti-itch spray or gel that contains menthol, a classic skin-soother. Keep the product in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. The coolness will provide extra itch relief.

• Buy anti-itch cream that contains a topical anaesthetic to numb the area. Some also contain hydrocortisone to stop the swelling and antihistamine to counter the allergic reaction.

• Use a insect-bite relief patch, which looks like a small bandage and goes directly on the skin. Each patch contains concentrated numbing medicine.

How to deal with ticks:

If you’re been in tick territory, please follow this advice.

• After you’ve been in the woods or weeds, take off your clothes and check yourself from head to toe. (Ensure your spouse or partner check parts of your body you can’t see.)

• If you find a tick that hasn’t attached to your skin, grasp it with a paper tissue and flush it down the toilet.

• If a tick has already latched onto your skin, use tweezers to grab it by the head, as close to your skin as possible. Slowly pull upward until it lets go. If you yank it off, the head can break off in your skin and remain there until infection sets in.

• Preserve any tick that has been embedded in your skin in a closed plastic sandwich bag. If you develop a rash, your doctor can analyse the tick to see whether it carries Lyme disease. A rash can show up from three days to a month later, so keep that bagged tick for a while before throwing it away.
A myth about tick bites? Smearing the tick with petroleum jelly or oil won’t cause it to come loose, as some would have you believe. Removing the head with tweezers is the effective way to get the job done.
When to call the doctor:

If you’ve been bitten by a spider, call the doctor immediately. If you’ve been stung by a bee or wasp and are struggling with your breathing, feel faint, or have swelling in your mouth or throat, a rapid pulse, or hives, you need to go to the Accident and Emergency. You could be having a potentially fatal allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. If you develop a bull’s-eye rash, muscle aches, fever, and headache within three weeks after a tick bite; these could be signs of Lyme disease, which can lead to mental confusion and arthritis if not treated.

Identify the spider

If you know you’ve been bitten by a spider, try to memorise its appearance. Some spiders can cause serious symptoms affecting your whole body, while others just create a localised reaction. Whether or not you have a severe reaction, seek medical attention right away.
And remember that prevention is better than treatment and that pets can be just as badly affected, if not more, than humans!