Bug Bite Treatments

on June 27th, 2023
with 0 Comments
in Health Information and Tips

Suffering a bug bite is never a fun experience. For instance, you might not even know what creature has created the rash or redness on your skin. However, there’s no need to panic, as most bites and stings from common insects are harmless and quick to heal.

However, bites or stings from insects such as fire ants, bees, hornets, and wasps can cause intense pain or a serious allergic reaction. In addition, an insect bite from a poisonous spider can put your life at risk necessitating emergency medical attention.

The good news is you can calm down the symptoms of common insect bites using home or natural remedies. Alternatively, you can use a combination of painkillers and antihistamines to reduce inflammation, soothe the pain, and promote healing.

Consider visiting a trusted urgent care center If you’re looking for quick relief from intense pain and severe allergic reaction.


When to Seek Medical Attention: Signs That Your Bug Bite Requires Professional Care

If a bug bites or stings you, you may see the insect or the animal during the attack. Unfortunately, most bites or attacks are hard to notice— you’re only surprised when symptoms emerge.

Here are the common symptoms of bug bites:

  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Pain in the affected area 
  • Heat around the site of the bite or wound
  • Redness or rash

Most bug bites can be safely treated at home. However, some bug bites or stings could turn into something serious.

Go to an emergency care center if you experience the following symptoms following a bug bite:

  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Swollen face, tongue, and lips
  • A sensation of a closing throat
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • A pacy heartbeat that lasts more than a minute
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Confusion

If you get flu-like symptoms or feel ill after an insect bite, you should visit an urgent care center to get treatment for an infection you might have contracted from the insect or bug.

Exploring Natural Remedies: How to Soothe Bug Bites Using Home Treatments

A mosquito or a bug bite may cause an allergic reaction. You’re likely to experience a rash, itchiness, and other symptoms as an indication of the generalized response by the immune system.

While seeking medical attention is always advisable, you can hold off that trip to a medical center by calming down mild symptoms using natural or home remedies.

Here is a list of natural remedies to soothe your bug bites:


Honey is an organic and traditional solution known for its nutritional and medicinal value. It contains vitamins, minerals, iron, zinc, antioxidants, and amino acids. People commonly use honey to treat coughs and help relieve gastrointestinal tract conditions.

More importantly, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities promote wound healing and calm skin irritation. 

A small drop of honey has the potential to reduce inflammation. It may also calm the urge to scratch— scratching a honey-covered skin will likely create a mess, which is why it’s used as a scratch deterrent.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a common household plant with many benefits beyond aesthetics. It has been a home remedy for over 6,000 years. Aloe vera contains a thick, clear, and watery gel which can be applied to the skin to calm skin irritation and wounds associated with insect bites.

Aloe vera has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. You can apply aloe vera on irritating skin to soothe, hydrate, and heal it, explaining why some health professionals may recommend aloe vera on some skin rashes.

Research has shown that aloe vera gel has shown effectiveness in reducing pain from burns and helping them heal faster.

It is, therefore, an excellent solution to heal insect and bug bites. 

Here’s how to use aloe vera on your skin:

  • Cut open a small section of the plant
  • Apply the gel to the irritating part of the skin
  • Let it dry
  • Apply again as needed

A point to note: Aloe vera is considered safe and non-toxic as long as you’re not allergic to the aloe vera plant. In addition, aloe vera may temporarily soothe inflammation and redness and may not instantly eliminate your symptoms.


For years, Apple cider vinegar has been a natural remedy for many infections, including blood glucose issues. Vinegar has shown effectiveness in reducing stinging and burning sensations. It may also be a natural disinfectant if you’ve scratched the affected part too much.

Here are two ways to use apple cider vinegar for a bug bite

Apple Cider Vinegar Bath

Apple cider vinegar bath is an effective home remedy if a large part of your skin is irritated by the bug bite. 


  1. Dilute 2 cups of apple cider vinegar in lukewarm bathwater
  2. Soak in the bath for about 20 minutes
  3. Pat the skin with a dry cloth until slightly moist
  4. Moisturize your skin
  5. Wear loose clothes to avoid itching
  6. Repeat the process 3-4 times a week

Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar

Diluted apple cider vinegar reduces inflammation and irritation for a localized skin rash. 

You’ll need water and apple cider vinegar to make this home remedy. 


  • Mix equal volumes of raw apple cider vinegar with water— if you have sensitive skin, mix ¼ cup of vinegar with 3 cups of water.
  • Dip a cotton ball in the solution
  • Apply the solution to the irritating or affected part
  • Repeat the process 2-3 times a day until the skin rash disappears

Stop apple cider vinegar treatment if you encounter skin irritation.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is a centuries-old natural remedy traditionally used to relieve itching. According to a study about the effectiveness of topical peppermint, it was found valuable in treating itching associated with chronic conditions like diabetes and liver conditions.

It is, therefore, believed to calm itchiness caused by transient causes like insect bites. Essential oils are known to have negative consequences when they interact with medications. Therefore, do your research before using peppermint oil as a home remedy.

Alternatively, consult a doctor whether peppermint is right for you.

Directions of use.

  • Mix a few drops of peppermint oil with coconut oil or olive oil
  • Dab a small amount of the mixture on the insect bite and rub it gently

Alternatively, add a few drops of peppermint oil to the bathtub of warm water for a soothing soak. Peppermint oil is so potent and is likely to cause skin tingling or burning; therefore, never apply undiluted oil on your skin.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm, a leafy plant, is a popular natural remedy for anxiety, stomach upsets, and skin conditions like a rash. As an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agent, it may help reduce swelling and skin redness associated with insect and bug bites.

Lemon balm contains polyphenols and tannin, a natural astringent. The two natural compounds reduce inflammation, enhance healing, and minimize the risk of infection. 

How to Make a Lemon Balm

You can make a lemon balm at home with simple ingredients to soothe skin irritation, minor cuts, scrapes, and insect bites. 

You’ll need the following:

  • A cup of lemon balm leaves—fresh or dried
  • ¼ cup of beeswax pellets
  • ¼ cup of carrier oil, such as olive oil or sweet almond oil


  • Wash the balm leaves thoroughly and leave them to dry— if dry, skip to the next step.
  • Mix the leaves with carrier oil in a blender until finely chopped.
  • Infuse the mixture on low heat and strain them through a mesh strainer
  • Add the beeswax to the mixture and boil till it melts
  • Poor the mixture in a small jar while hot to avoid solidifying

Instead of beeswax, you can use coconut oil, with anti-microbial properties, or shea butter to improve the balm’s shelf life.

Apply a thin layer of lemon balm on the affected area to soothe the irritation. 

Instead of buying a lemon balm, you can buy it in stores.

Lastly, you may apply thinly chopped lemon balm leaves on the insect bite to calm the inflammation and prevent infection.


Garlic is widely used as an immune booster and a natural remedy for heart conditions and blood pressure. It is also applied as a home remedy for an irritating insect bite. 

How to apply garlic to an insect bite

It’s not advisable to slice a garlic bulb and apply it on an insect bite because garlic is highly potent and can cause burning and stinging.

Instead, mince it into fine particles and mix it with unscented lotion or petroleum jelly. The role of ointment is to reduce garlic potency while allowing the skin to benefit from its anti-bacterial and healing properties.

Apply the mixture and let it sit on the affected part for 10 minutes, then wipe it off the skin with a cool washcloth. Repeat the process if the itching persists. If you notice any side effects, stop using the garlic ointment immediately.

Avoid Bug Bites

It’s important to avoid bug bites from insects such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes because they can spread diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and Lyme. Although the effects of most insect bites are mild, they can cause severe diseases with long-lasting effects.

Here are a few steps to take to avoid bug bites:

  • Check Your Destination: If you’re planning to travel, check travel guidelines to determine the steps you need to take to protect yourself from bug bites. For instance, CDC guidelines have instructions on medicines and vaccines you need to take to protect your health.
  • Check Your Activities: Some activities, including hiking, camping, and visiting forested areas or farms, will increase the risk of bug bites.
  • Sleep Under Mosquito Nets: Sleep under treated mosquito nets to prevent mosquito bites.

Antihistamines and Painkillers: Medications That Can Help Relieve Symptoms of Bug Bites

Most insect and bug bites are mild and can be treated with the help of home remedies. However, they might cause stinging, itching, and swelling that doesn’t disappear easily. An insect bite may also result in flu-like symptoms or an ill feeling that requires medical attention.

Here are the medications to relieve bug bites symptoms:


Antihistamine is a class of drugs that are commonly used to treat allergies. These drugs are designed to counter too much histamine, a chemical released by your body’s immune system. Antihistamine is also commonly used by people with allergic reactions to triggers such as pollen, pet dander, cold, and mold. 

What is Histamine?

Histamine is a vital chemical that plays a role in several body processes. It can trigger inflammation, dilate blood vessels, stimulate gastric acid secretion, affect heart rate, and influence muscle contraction in the lungs and intestines.

The role of antihistamine is to block what histamine does to the body.

Antihistamines are classified into two; H-1 receptor antagonists and H-2 receptor antagonists. The H-1 receptor antagonist is used to treat allergy symptoms. H-2 receptor antagonists or blockers treat gastrointestinal issues such as peptic ulcers, motion sickness, nausea, and vomiting.

Besides allergies, antihistamines treat the following conditions:

  • Insect Bites and Stings
  • Hives and other skin rashes
  • Hypersensitivity to specific drugs
  • Colds
  • Hay fever
  • Food allergies
  • Allergic conjunctivitis

Example of H-1 Receptor Antagonist Antihistamines That Treat Insect Bites

  • Brompheniramine
  • Clemastine
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Phenindamine
  • Doxylamine
  • Cyproheptadine
  • Chlorpheniramine
  • Dexchlorpheniramine

Side Effects of Antihistamine

You should always consult a doctor about the most suitable antihistamine you should use. With your doctor, you’ll evaluate the potential benefits of the antihistamine against its side effects.

The common side effects include:

  • Rapid heart attack
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry eyes
  • Thick mucus
  • Headache
  • Difficulty urinating

Ask the following questions to a healthcare provider before taking antihistamines:

  • What is the most suitable antihistamine for my condition?
  • Is antihistamine safe for children?
  • Can you drive or operate heavy machinery after taking an antihistamine?
  • Can you take an antihistamine if you’re pregnant, planning to be pregnant, or while breastfeeding?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • Will antihistamines interfere with the current medication?

PainKillers for Insect Bites

You’ll likely experience mild pain after a bug bite— bees, bullet ants, or wasps offer the most painful bug bites.  Use over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen, paracetamol, or acetaminophen to reduce pain sensitivity.

Balancing Effectiveness and Safety: Pros and Cons of Different Bug Bite Treatments

Pros of Natural Remedy For Insect Bites

Most ingredients used in home remedy preparation doubles up as food ingredients. That said, home remedies offer numerous benefits, including:

  • They are Natural: Home remedies use natural ingredients such as honey, basil, peppermint oil, ginger, turmeric, lemon balm, etc. Natural ingredients have numerous benefits for your body and the environment. For instance, natural ingredients stimulate the body’s natural healing process. It also helps conserve the environment because they’re organically grown compared to industrial-produced medicine.
  • Cost-Effective: Over-the-counter medication is commercially processed and sold, which justifies its premium prices. In comparison, home remedies are made from ingredients that are sometimes used to prepare food. Therefore, with a little knowledge of home remedies, you can get relief from insect bites at a fraction of the medication cost.
  • Home Remedies Support a Healthy Lifestyle: Using natural remedies supports a healthy lifestyle that eventually reduces reliance on medication. For instance, besides calming symptoms of insect bites, garlic helps lower blood pressure, prevent cancer, reduce cholesterol levels, and boost your immune system.
  • Enhances Recovery: The symptoms of a bug bite can leave your body exhausted and ill. Fortunately, most natural remedies help your body regain health, and strength, and restore digestive capacity and the body’s functionality.

Cons of Natural Remedy for Bug Bites

  • High-Potency of Natural Remedies: Due to limited research on natural ingredients, it’s not always clear how much of an ingredient to use. For instance, using raw garlic on the skin is unsafe and may cause a burning sensation. Applying garlic on an open wound is also ill-advised because it can lead to prolonged bleeding.
  • Natural Remedy Offers Temporary Reprieve: If you use the wrong dosage or incorrect application, you’ll likely get temporary or delayed relief.
  • Risk of Overdose: Home remedies are used without the doctor’s attention or adequate research. Improper use can cause allergies, skin rash, and other health issues.
  • Not Effective in Treating Severe Symptoms: A bug or insect bite can result in severe symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, hives, trouble breathing, dizziness, and a weak pulse. While home remedies are effective in soothing inflammation and calming pain, little evidence shows effectiveness in soothing the above severe symptoms.
  • Absence of Full Diagnosis: Treatment of insect bites using home remedies ends at that stage and doesn’t investigate other underlying factors or infections related to the symptoms.

Pros of Antihistamine and Painkillers

  • Scientifically Backed Efficacy: Modern medicine, including painkillers and antihistamines, is a product of rigorous scientific research and fact-based practices. All forms of medication undergo extensive testing and scrutiny before getting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA). In contrast, home remedies are not backed by scientific evidence to support their efficacy and have not undergone rigorous testing.
  • Comprehensive Approach: Most patients buy their drugs from licensed pharmacies and health facilities, an opportunity for a comprehensive health approach. As you pick the prescription, the healthcare provider evaluates your medical history, risk factors, and past side effects on medication. As a result, they confidently recommend the appropriate medicine suitable for your age, health condition, and bug bite.
  • Access to Health Experts: Medicine is dispensed under the supervision of doctors, clinicians, pharmacists, and nurses who’ve spent years training in their respective fields. Their knowledge and experience help them develop personalized treatment plans and provide comprehensive care for bug bites. On the other hand, home remedies offer a generalized approach and don’t offer solutions for variations and complications.
  • Advanced Medical Technology: Modern medicine is accompanied by advanced medical technologies such as imaging, laboratory tests, and surgical procedures allowing accurate diagnosis and targeted treatment. In case of a severe allergic reaction, health facilities can conduct a further test to assess any other complications. Similarly, healthcare facilities have the equipment to treat life-threatening symptoms such as pacy heart rate, breathing difficulties, or unconsciousness.
  • Reduced Pain and Suffering: Antihistamine and painkillers are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, helping alleviate the pain and suffering of patients. For instance, you should feel better 20-30 minutes after taking ibuprofen tablets, liquid, or granules.
  • Faster Recovery: If you take an antihistamine to calm inflammation, it should work in 30 minutes and reach its optimum in 2 hours. The fast recovery rate is credited to years of research, trials on drug effectiveness, and continuous improvement.
  • Increased Safety: Modern medicine is a safety hallmark, unlike home remedies with minimal safety guidelines.  Drug manufacturing companies are subjected to rigorous regulatory standards and oversight by government agencies. Regulatory bodies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration assess the risks and benefits of a drug before approving its use for the public.


Cons of Medication in Treating Bug Bites

  • High Cost: Painkillers or antihistamines are expensive compared to home remedies.  The high cost is due to research and development, marketing, distribution, clinical trials, ongoing monitoring, and regulatory requirements.
  • Side Effects: Unlike home remedies, painkillers and antihistamines have potential side effects on patients. For instance, side effects of ibuprofen include headaches, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
  • Overuse and Dependency: There’s a risk of dependency if you frequently take painkillers or antihistamines to deal with bug bites. Dependency is also referred to as tolerance which is the body’s response to the long-term use of the drug. Unfortunately, people with a drug dependence problem require higher doses to get the same effect and may experience withdrawal symptoms.
  • Prescription Errors: Although drugs are highly effective, a prescription error can result in adverse drug reactions, toxicity, or medication interaction.

Get Fast Relief from Insect Bites; Visit Newport Urgent Care Center Today

Most bug and insect bites go away easily with the help of home remedies. Unfortunately, some cause severe reactions, including hives, itching, coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and a large area of swelling.

It’s, therefore, important to use medication that offers effective and lasting relief to bug bites symptoms.

Newport Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine has highly trained and board-certified physicians who apply modern medicine to treat bug bites.

Contact us online or call us at 949.284.2813 to book an appointment.