It’s no secret that mosquitos are blood-sucking, disease-carrying pests. In fact, thanks to the diseases they carry (like malaria and dengue fever), mosquitos kill way more humans each year than any other animal. And it’s the females doing the killing; they’re the ones who poke holes in you and suck your blood — male mosquitoes snack on nectar and plant juices.
Here in America, we generally don’t have to worry about getting malaria from mosquitoes. But almost as bad as a potentially deadly disease? Itchy bug bites! If you want to know how to stop a bug bite from itching, forget making an “X” with your fingernail over the bite — or whatever other old wives’ tales Nanna told you would do the trick. Those things might temporarily help distract you, but they won’t solve the problem. (What we’re saying is, Nanna was a filthy liar.)
The best things you can stop a bug bite from itching is to … uh, not get bitten. Seriously, that’s the primary thing most experts told us. Using Off can help stop some bites, but if you’re trekking out into the woods — or your backyard — during the summer, chances are you’re going to get nailed. So we also gathered six practical ways to stop a bug bite from itching.
1) PUT ICE ON THE BITE
The ice can change the way your nerves respond and temporarily stop the itching, according to HL Greenberg, MD, a dermatologist at Las Vegas Dermatology.
2) RUN HOT WATER OVER THE BITE
The heat can draw out histamines in your white blood cells, which is what makes the bite itch in the first place. Plus, it’ll help clean the bite to prevent any further irritation by dirt or germs. (Just don’t use boiling water, please.)