The Best Ways to Soothe Summer Bug Bites

By: Paige Greenfield, MSN healthy living
By: Paige Greenfield, MSN healthy living

Flirty dresses, fruity drinks...what's not to love about summer? How about itchy, painful insect stings? New Orleans-based dermatologist Larry Millikan, M.D., explains how to identify and deal with bug bites so you can get back to the beach.

Common insect bites and how to recognize them

The Critter: Mosquito

The Sting: A red, itchy welt that can swell to the size of a quarter

The Fix: You can't instantly erase a skeeter bite. But you can minimize swelling and scarring by swallowing an OTC antihistamine and rubbing calamine lotion over the site a few times a day. Calamine's ingredients -- zinc oxide and ferric oxide -- signal your skin to quit itching.

The Critter: Deer tick

The Sting: A raised, round bite that can develop into a rash shaped like a bull's‑eye

The Fix: Though tick bites rarely cause itching or aches, they can lead to bacterial infections, including Lyme disease. Give yourself a once‑over after walking through grassy, wooded areas. If you spot a tick, a bite, or a growing rash, see your doc (ASAP, if you feel dizzy).

The Critter: Bee, wasp, or hornet

The Sting: A half‑inch reddish bump that stings -- badly

The Fix: Use a cotton swab to apply a basic meat tenderizer (available at any grocery store); enzymes in it can break down bug venom and reduce pain and swelling. Covering the site with hydrocortisone cream can also curb puffiness.


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