We all enjoy finally getting outdoors in spring, catching fireflies in summer, sitting around a campfire in fall.
Learn how to treat bug bites and stings naturally. Have your favorite remedies close by so that you can enjoy the beautiful outdoors without worrying about the consequences.
When a Bug Bite or Sting Strikes…
First, analyze the area. Is it just one bite, or a handful of smaller bites? Was the child playing outdoors just minutes ago, or was it an overnight spider bite? Having a general idea of what you are dealing with is a good place to start.
Next, apply a drawing paste or salve to pull out any toxins.
Of course, the best remedy is prevention. Have a natural bug spray or salve on hand at all times! It also wouldn’t hurt to plant flowers and herbs in the area you play in often to ward off bugs.
- Plantain. Yes, that little wide-leaved plant in your yard is amazing for relieving the itch of mosquito and other bites. When bit, grab a fresh leaf (that has not been sprayed) and either mash it in a bowl with a little bit of water, or chew it briefly, and apply the mashed leaf to the bite area for a few minutes. You can also infuse plantain salve into any liquid oil to make a plantain salve at the ready.
- For those who seem prone to big reactions to bites and stings, applying a drawing salve or paste to bites is a good idea. Make a paste with a little bit of bentonite clay or activated charcoal, or both, and cover the area. Allow to dry, and wash off later in the day. Reapply as needed. Then, you can use another natural remedy on the area as well. It’s super easy to DIY your own black drawing salve. If DIY is not your thing, you can also purchase black drawing salve to have on hand.
- Essential oils are also a quick way to resolve the itch and reaction to a bite or sting. Lavender is said to be the best and gentlest to have on hand from everything from mosquito bites to bee stings.
- Epsom salts mixed with a little honey. Many swear by this natural paste that helps relieve the itch and also keep the area clean of any unwanted bacteria (thanks to the antibacterial properties of honey). The stickiness just may prevent your little one from scratching, or they may just eat the honey (win-win).
- Another quick at-home remedy is making a baking soda paste to cover the bite or sting, allow it to dry, and remove later. This soothes the inflamed area.
- Old-timers swear by a raw potato or onion slice on the affected area.
When to Worry
If the area becomes so inflamed that it hurts the child to move the body part, it may be time for a call to your trusted physician to see if there’s anything of concern. If you see a target-like ring around the bite, it is possible that this is a sign of lyme infection, and you may also want to consult a trusted physician for your preferred course of treatment. A bacterial infection is also a concern, so keep the area clean and try to discourage a child from itching. If it does look infected, apply honey or an herbal salve at the first sign of red inflammation or pus. Likewise, if your child is prone to excessive itching, and breaking open the skin around bites, it’s smart to apply such a salve as soon as you see a bite as prevention.
If the bites or spots begin to spread (without further time outdoors), you may want to look into impetigo, bed bugs, or the like. Many, small red and particularly itchy bites may be from chiggers. You will definitely want to provide an anti-itch for these, since they are so itchy!
We desperately need fresh air and sunshine to stay healthy. Don’t let the bugs stop you from getting your fill! Be prepared with these remedies on hand.
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