Hey Laura, what do I do about these awfully itchy bug bites?!

I got code red emergency question today that I have to push to the front of the line!

Itchin’ and bitchin’” (hee hee!) writes:

I have bug bites, presumably mosquito, EVERYWHERE!  I literally have dozens over my body; they’ve been viscious in the past few days, and they especially enjoy my “unmentionables” regions.  I’m telling you, I have bites in places you REALLY aren’t supposed to get bitten.  And the itching is driving me insane.  Some have turned into weeping welts, especially the ones on seams of my clothing (thighs, bra lines, etc.).  But I’m a chem-free sort of girl—I need a home-grown, or at the very least nasty-stuff-free, bug bite relief!  PLEASE help me!

What you’re describing sounds a lot more like chiggers than mosquitoes!

Read this fantastic article about chiggers and see if it doesn’t describe your problem. If you’re too lazy to click, let me pull out some key quotes.

Chiggers [the juvenile (or larval) form of a specific family of mites, the Trombiculidae] first show up as annoying red bumps. An itch begins. It grows. More hard red welts surface. From your feet and ankles upward, and especially at those tender locations your mother told not to scratch in public, a maddening itch takes hold.

Ah, yes! Say it with me! LADY BITS! :)

So what causes the itching? It totally sounds like creepy sci-fi!

The reason the bite itches so intensely and for such a long time is because the chigger injects saliva into its victim after attaching to the skin. This saliva contains a powerful digestive enzyme that literally dissolves the skin cells it contacts. It is this liquefied tissue, never blood, that the chigger ingests and uses for food

Liquified tissue! Flesh-juice! Yum!

Itching usually peaks a day or two after the bite occurs…Your skin continues the itch, allergic reaction to stylostome for many days. The stylostome is eventually absorbed by your body, a slow process that takes a week to 10 days, or longer.

So, fun, gruesome chigger details aside, what you really want to know is if there is anything natural that relieves the itching!

Yes.

Certain essential oils have anti-itch properties. Tea Tree oil, Lavender, and Neem are some of the most prevalently used. You can either mix your own remedy or buy one ready-made.

I have used Burt’s Bees Bug Bite Relief, and it works quite well, although you do have to keep reapplying it quite often. It smells herbal, but not offensive.

Here’s my Central Oregon local shout-out: Dancing Bee Acre’s Neem Anti-itch salve contains (obviously) Neem as well as lavender.

If I lived in a place with a horrid biting-bug season, I would probably invest in this Natural Itch Remedy. It seems like there’s one of these hokey website products for any problem you ever Google, but with a money-back guarantee and all those positive testimonials, it might be worth the thirteen bucks!

To make your own remedy with an essential oil you have on hand, just add a few drops to some olive oil or coconut oil (or lotion, in a pinch). Essential oils (particularly Tea Tree oil) can be pretty caustic if applied neat. Always mix them with something!

Baking soda made into a paste with a bit of water can also soothe itching. Put your essential oil in the paste and rub it on.

Ultimately, I’m sorry to say, the only cure is time. Try not to scratch if you can help it; you run the risk of a secondary infection if you do!

Hey Laura, I think... Hey Laura, what do I do about these awfully itchy bug bites?!

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