We’ve all said this at one time or other. Why do I always get bitten when my wife/husband/mum/dad/brother/sister etc never get bitten at all. Well believe it or not there are so many factors which determine whether that mosquito or biting fly will choose you. And there are natural ways to deal with bites if you do get bitten.
Scientists in the field of insects have discovered that it all begins with how we smell to those insects. There are proteins found in mosquitoes’ antennae and heads that literally work in conjunction with the natural odours we omit from our skin. The odours act like ‘markers’ to bugs like mosquitos and biting flies which share similar genes – and the markers will help them to find us and bite us. Our odours, as they bind with certain chemicals in the air, will literally act like beacons to those insects and guide them towards those they intend to bite. But we all smell different to our biting friends and some scientists suggest that it’s certain characteristics in our bodies making some of us more desirable to bite than others. Many things contribute to this theory – pregnancy, body temperature, alcohol levels and even how much carbon dioxide we have in our breath.
To a biting bug even our blood type will determine whether they will bite or not. Someone with AB blood will release a different odour marker than someone with blood type B. One study has actually shown that those with blood type O will get bitten more than others literally because they emit more odourant markers.
Once a bug has bitten you it will release a anticoagulant in its saliva. In response to the bite our bodies will naturally produce histamine at the site of the bite. Histamine is the protein used by our bodies to initiate immune responses, which include irritation and itching. It’s this that will make that bite itch! For those who don’t want to resort to anti-histamine based creams and pills once we’ve been bitten here are some great natural and organic ways to deal with bites:
Dip a cloth in hot water and hold it against the bite until you feel the bite tingle. Repeat once or twice. Your nerves will become confused and the itching will vanish for hours. The heat causes all the histamine in the skin surrounding the bite to be released at once. You should get a good few hours of temporary relief.
Dab some toothpaste over the bite area. This can help to relieve itching. Regular flavoured toothpaste works best. Don’t use gel toothpaste as it won’t work. Dollop it onto the bite and leave it on overnight. Wash it off on the morning with cold water and a mild soap or body wash cream. The toothpaste will have dried out the bite and stopped the irritation.
Use your fingernail to press an “X” into the bite. This simple action disperses the protein in your body and stops the itch for a while.
Apply ice cubes to the bite. For some, a simple ice cube will alleviate itching.
Cut a slice of raw potato and place on the bite. Rub the open side of the potato on the bite. The sap of the potato will dry over the bite and help alleviate the itching.
Cut a lemon or lime and rub gently on the bite. Alternatively splash a little juice on the bite. Citric acid has itch-relieving properties.
Use cooled tea. It can work wonders when applied to insect bites. Moisten some cotton wool in the cooled tea and apply to the bite.
Use Lavender Oil. Dab a little Lavender Oil directly onto the bite. Lavender Oil can relieve the itching quickly.
Apply Aloe Vera gel to the bite area. For some Aloe Vera can relieve itching.
Peel a banana and rub the inside of the banana skin onto the bite to stop the itch.
Apply honey to the bite area to alleviate itching.
Whatever method works for you remember one thing. Don’t scratch that bite! The more you scratch the more it will itch!