Insect bites, especially the persistent itching is quite irksome. For prompt relief, heat up a metal spoon under hot tap water until warm and press it directly against the bite. Also, a hot blast from a home electric hair dryer can be directed to the area to ease itching. In either case, be careful not to burn yourself! These remedies work for poison ivy rash treatment as well.
One of the most infuriating aspects of insect bites is the infernal itching. There are many creams available over the counter including low dose cortisone, diphenhydramine, calamine, and pramoxine among others. Most of them work marginally at best.
What’s An itch?
The itch sensation is really a low-grade stimulation of the skin’s pain receptors. We scratch itchy rashes and bumps because scratching converts the low-grade pain stimulation into a full-fledged sensation of pain, and ironically the brain can deal with pain better than an itch.
What I have found through personal experience is that the application of heat was the most effective way of dealing with itchiness from bug bites, although this works for rashes like poison ivy as well.
How’s The Itch Caused?
Itchiness is usually produced by a cascade of activation of histamine receptors released as part of the body’s response to the foreign proteins released by the bug into the bite. Applying heat converts these histamines into different types of transmitters more typical of pain, or inactivates them altogether. Relief is quite prompt and lasts often for hours, rarely requiring more than one or two treatments.
Applying heat to a bite can be done either of two ways:
- A spoon can be heated under hot water until warm and applied to the bite.
- A hot blast from a home electric hair dryer can be directed to the area.
You will typically feel a sensation as if you were scratching the bite. When this occurs, you’ve done enough. In either case, be careful not to burn yourself!