Bug bites ... what do you use to quell the itch ??

3:30 a.m. on July 10, 2011 (EDT)
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Well ... I'm actually NOT in the "Backcountry" on this one ... but ....

I am in my bedroom, in my apartment ... and, was awakened by mosquito bites.  It is 3:30 AM.

I have a prescription compound an area pharmacy dispenses, called "Summer Gel".   It usually quells the itch within minutes.   I am running low on it, and need to get the script refilled.

Wondering (???) what do Y'all use?

I sometimes use tea tree oil, to some good effect.

____________________________________________________________

                                                   ~r2~

8:38 a.m. on July 10, 2011 (EDT)
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In the field, try the juice from crushed Jewel Weed (Touch-me-Not) stems.  For an at-home remedy, the stems can be crushed and mixed with a bit of water and frozen in ice cube trays.  I little rub, and the itch will be greatly reduced or eliminated.  Also works on small scratches, burns, poison ivy, and more.

For a more medicinal approach, I'll sometime pop a Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) tablet to help alleviate the itch and induce a more restful night's sleep.

9:50 a.m. on July 10, 2011 (EDT)
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I usually just ignore them.

11:03 a.m. on July 10, 2011 (EDT)
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There was an interesting article I read a while back on effective home remedies for insect bites, now I wish I had saved it or printed it.

It discussed plants, and household products like ammonia to relieve itching, inflammation, and such.

I'll see if I can find it again.

Well, I can't find the same one again but here is one I found, though not as extensive:

http://www.natural-homeremedies-for-life.com/mosquito-bite-treatment.html

11:53 a.m. on July 10, 2011 (EDT)
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I use either 'Afterbite' or Gold Bond Cream for dry skin.  Gold Bond relieves almost instantly.

12:42 p.m. on July 10, 2011 (EDT)
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r2

Who is the manufacturer of the "Summer Gel" or does it go by another name? I googled and the closest I came was "Summer's Eve anti-itch gel." Don't think that's what you are using.

2:11 p.m. on July 10, 2011 (EDT)
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As weird as it sounds, the very best relief I get for bug bites (and other skin irritants like cedar slivers) is Liquid Anbesol 20%.  It's sold in glass bottles and in plastic tubes.

I can react quite badly to mosquitoes, and I was desperate to deal a bite one day several years ago, and I had some on hand and tried it. Much to my delight, it was highly effective. 

I have led several church youth group hikes, and the girls fight over who gets to use the Anbesol next :)

2:12 p.m. on July 10, 2011 (EDT)
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My Dad's best friend, 100% Greek, God rest his soul, would say to "put Windex on it".

My gues is that r2's Summer Gel probably contain's Lidocaine or some other type of amide drug. Perhaps blended with a topical antihistamine or anti-inflammatory.

My children have allergic reactions to mosquito bites (got that from their mother - I have allergies but not reactions to bites). They are miserable when they get them. I've used benadryl cream, Gold-Bond Cream, After-Itch, systemic antihistamines to try and help, and all met with marginal, if not negligible, results.

I will have to try some natural remedies, like the jewel-weed (although my children are also allergic to several weed types - I'll have to rule that one out.

The best remedy I've found, that has proven 100% effective at treating the itch, is applying a Lidoderm patch. Lidoderm is a 3"x5" topical patch infused with Lidocaine. It slowly diffuses Lidocaine into the skin. This is a prescription product indicated for topical relief of Post-Herpetic Neuralgia (Shingles Pain), but is used for many, many other peripheral pains. The beauty of this patch is that it can be cut with scissors to whatever size pieces on needs, without effecting the Lidocaine delivery system. I have some patches from a prior prescription, and I simply cut 3/8 to 1/2" squares and apply them to my kid's bites - total relief, and completely safe IF applied on intact skin. The patch stays on for as long as 24 hours, but will fall off if exposed to water.

3:50 p.m. on July 10, 2011 (EDT)
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Xterro Brando said:

'My Dad's best friend, 100% Greek, God rest his soul, would say to "put Windex on it"

  I have used Windex with pretty good results on mosquito bites.

5:55 p.m. on July 10, 2011 (EDT)
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@ XterroBrando:  wow, did you think that one up,  using the Lidoderm patch's, kudo's to who ever did.  I got a bunch of them for free to try for my bad back but they had no effect other than to numb the skin.  I just would not have thought of using those.  As I will be gardening this evening I'll wait till I get bit by something before I cover up so I can test this out before dispersing the patches to the appropate first aid kits and vehicles.

11:31 p.m. on July 10, 2011 (EDT)
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Just like CWF, I have used Afterbite (this one is at Walgreens) http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/afterbite-original-itch-eraser/ID=prod393335-product?V=G&ext=frgl_Google_For_the_Home


and currently I use StineEze http://stingeze.com/stingeze-max.html

I keep the StingEze in my survival-first aid kit.

4:05 a.m. on July 11, 2011 (EDT)
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XterroBrando said:

..The best remedy I've found, that has proven 100% effective at treating the itch, is applying a Lidoderm patch...

Lidocaine sunburn pain ointments and cankersore pain ointments will also provide relief and are non-prescription. 

Tobacco juice is a old time cure, as is toothpaste, but I cannot contest to the effectivness of these applications.

Ed

7:32 a.m. on July 11, 2011 (EDT)
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ocalacomputerguy said:

r2

Who is the manufacturer of the "Summer Gel" or does it go by another name? I googled and the closest I came was "Summer's Eve anti-itch gel." Don't think that's what you are using.

 

It is proprietary ... concocted by the pharmacist at Edward's Pharmacy, in Centreville, Maryland.  

www.EdwardsPharmacy.com    800-310-4312

For years, it was available over-the-counter,  for about $10 for a small plastic container of it.   Last for about 1 year.  Shelf-life date is about 6-months.

It became regionally famous.   They couldn't keep it on the shelves (really !)

Somehow, the FDA got wind of it, and decided to regulate it

Now, one needs a prescription, and it is $15.

The script number is 960924.

I'll pick it up and send it, if you can get your doc to fax a script in to them.

________________________________________________________

                                            ~r2~

11:00 a.m. on July 11, 2011 (EDT)
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I use"after Bite" comes in a pen-like applicator tube, screw off the cap and there is a felt pad for applying. It works pretty quickly. Found it in the camping section of stores like Wal-mart. The active ingrediant is ammonia. Might help explain the Windex. I have heard old wives tales about using pee to relieve the sting and itch, I  never had any desire to try that method, but anything with ammonia in it should be effective. There is no numbing componet, I think the ammonia just neutralizes the inflamatory action of the bite or sting. 

The Jewel weed is something I used years ago. It is a succulent plant found growing around streams and creeks. I would break or crush the stem and apply it the same way as with aloe.

1:29 p.m. on July 11, 2011 (EDT)
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apeman said:

@ XterroBrando:  wow, did you think that one up,  using the Lidoderm patch's, kudo's to who ever did.  I got a bunch of them for free to try for my bad back but they had no effect other than to numb the skin.  I just would not have thought of using those.  As I will be gardening this evening I'll wait till I get bit by something before I cover up so I can test this out before dispersing the patches to the appropate first aid kits and vehicles.

 Apeman,

I had the idea myself, although I'm sure many healthcare professionals have done the same well before me. My understanding is that Itching is considered a pain symptom medically, and Lidocaine delivered slowly into the skin (via the patch) blocks many but not all sodium channels in the peripheral nerve endings. Because of this, the Lidocaine patch generally does not act as an anesthetic (total blockage of all sodium channels in the neuron), but an analgesic. So you shouldn't feel numbness in the applied area - just pain relief, as long as you wear it for 12 hours or less (as indicated). My research found that it can numb the area if left on for more than 12 hours, as the concentration of lidocaine in the skin is increased faster than the body can clear it from the tissue. Neither I or my kids have experienced any numbness despite wearing longer than 12 hours, but everyone is different.

It is the unique delivery system of the patch that makes it so effective in peripheral pain relief, as it stabilizes the environment for delivery (by adhering to the skin). topical gels and ointments are subject to more variables that can alter efficasy.

I suspect that you didn't get back relief because your pain symptoms are generated in areas not innervated by peripheral nerve endings. Sometimes the back pain comes from both secondary nerve chains (more centralized to the spinal column) and peripheral ones, depending on the structural nature of the offending injury.

1:50 p.m. on July 11, 2011 (EDT)
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Lidocaine is the active ingredient in Anbesol--but no patches or cutting, etc is required.  It helps reduce the swelling and other allergic responses as well.  I have seen mosquito bites that have swelled to 3" across that the Anbesol has helped to quell. Again, it doesn't numb the spot, either, just relieves the pain.

For hiking/backpacking, I have not found anything that is nearly as effective. I have tried the ammonia based product and found them ineffective for mosquito bites (worked OK for a bumblebee sting, but the two events are not really comparable).

The tube is about 6$ or so.

4:04 p.m. on July 11, 2011 (EDT)
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In a related vein---keeping bugs off---a Dual Survival episode comes to mind where Cody covers his legs with mud.  I did a four mile summer hike once in the mountains of NC and covered completely in wet firepit ash(except for the loin clout)---inspired by the Hindu sadhus of India.  It kept the bugs off although I looked like a zombie ghost.

5:54 p.m. on July 11, 2011 (EDT)
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Haven't tried anbesol - will give it a shot someday. great tips and tricks all around!

10:10 p.m. on July 11, 2011 (EDT)
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Is late Autumn (with a killer-frost)  too much to wish for, at this juncture?

                                         ~r2~

1:09 a.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

In a related vein---keeping bugs off---a Dual Survival episode comes to mind where Cody covers his legs with mud.  I did a four mile summer hike once in the mountains of NC and covered completely in wet firepit ash(except for the loin clout)---inspired by the Hindu sadhus of India.  It kept the bugs off although I looked like a zombie ghost.

 That made me laugh!  I use Sting-Eze.

6:23 a.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

In a related vein---keeping bugs off---a Dual Survival episode comes to mind where Cody covers his legs with mud.  I did a four mile summer hike once in the mountains of NC and covered completely in wet firepit ash(except for the loin clout)---inspired by the Hindu sadhus of India.  It kept the bugs off although I looked like a zombie ghost.

 

Any clothes on  (under the ash)?    If so, how-the-heck did you ever wash that out?

__________________________________________________________

                                                    ~r2~

8:39 a.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

Tipi Walter said:

In a related vein---keeping bugs off---a Dual Survival episode comes to mind where Cody covers his legs with mud.  I did a four mile summer hike once in the mountains of NC and covered completely in wet firepit ash(except for the loin clout)---inspired by the Hindu sadhus of India.  It kept the bugs off although I looked like a zombie ghost.

 

Any clothes on  (under the ash)?    If so, how-the-heck did you ever wash that out?

__________________________________________________________

                                                    ~r2~

 No clothes except for the loin cloth---this was in October to also test the theory of keeping warm using wet wood ash-paste which dries to an "insulating" layer---common practice for wandering monks in India.  The whole point is to smear it atop bare flesh, etc.  Washing it out of the hair was a minor challenge but solved with repeated dousings of spring water at a mountain-side spring.

8:52 a.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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This is not the "smartest" idea but it typically seems to work.....itch until it is just shy of bleeding (ie just a hint of blood shows) then douse with rubbing alcohol...I know it sounds odd, but I have done it before with an extremely pesky mosquito bite and it did the trick.

4:54 p.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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anbesol has done the trick for me as well.

i've never tried the 'itch until its shy of bleeding' approach, but hey anything's worth a try right?

1:13 p.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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2:24 p.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Antihistimines and baking soda paste, according to the Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/first-aid-insect-bites/FA00046

1:33 p.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Put in one of those Casablanca fans.  Skeeters can't navigate well in over 3mph wind so they have a hard time landing as well as finding you - the CO2 is dissipated.

Also Preparation H works.  Just a little day will do ya.  Can get in 1oz tubes at some places.  Don't get it in eyes tho.

3:57 p.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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speacock said:

  Skeeters can't navigate well in over 3mph wind so they have a hard time landing as well as finding you -

 ... Preparation H works.  Just a little dab will do ... 

 Yeah ... but 'skeeters have such tiny butts.   How the heck can you do that?

                                                          ~r2~

9:34 p.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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UPDATE

I have been experimenting most of the Summer with some of the suggested remedies here, by "Trailheads".

I spotted a jewelweed compound ( suggested by Hafford ... thank you, Dude ) on eBay.

The purveyor offers a salve and a soap, primarily for treatment / prevention of poison-ivy and oak.

I order  two little tubs of the salve, and three cakes of the soap.

I applied the jewelweed salve to a couple bites on my legs.  I believe these bites were from the little, dart-shaped flies ... don't know what they're called.  I do know their bites itch like the blazes.   Seems to work pretty well.   Will be trying on other bites, as they occur.

It is available from a family-outfit, not a company.  Home-made, apparently.

No website.   eBay store is " Poison Ivy Stop Shop".

Or Email at Poisonivystopshop@yahoo.com

Advertised to:  "Heal poison-ivy and oak in 3-days, stops itching within minutes".

Probably something to keep on-hand, in-any-event.   Poison ivy can put the kibosh on a backpacking trip.

                                                  ~r2~

10:16 p.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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@Robert Rowe :  After further review I have found that Endo Lidoderm Lidicane patches are the now a given (to someone to sell to me) gift from above which was suggested  XterroBrando in on of the above posts.  They make all boo-boo's, oueyies, and bites regarding skin pain, pain free.  If you can get some I would recomend them as they have worked for me.

10:28 p.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the nod Robert on the Jewel weed comment, but the credit goes to XterroBrando for bringing it up earlier.

10:57 p.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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  O0oops !  ... I missed that.   Also, f klock, as well.

Thanks XterroBrando & f klock.

Our fellow-members should know that the substance / product DOES work ... to quell insect-bite itching.   Dunno (?) 'bout the poison-ivy aspect.   Really don't want to find out.  Has the consistency of firm tofu.

The salve consists of jewelweed plant extract, vegetable oil, olive oil, beeswax, vitamin E.

Full money back guarentee.

                                                ~r2~

11:22 p.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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I rub the blood, guts, and dismembered bodies of other bugs on my bite wounds.  It doesn't ease the itching, but like the old Middle Ages "head-on-a-pike" trick, it sends a psychological message to the other bugs.  haha

11:50 p.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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Jewel weed is very easy to find April through November here in the southeastern mountain regions, and I swear by the stuff. In the colder months when it can't be found fresh I use a jewelweed soap that I get from a localish company, Coyote Cove Farms.

1:32 a.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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I've been using Solarcaine aloe burn spray on skeeter bites when I get home from my trips. Believe it or bot it seems to work pretty well to qwell the itching :-).

1:37 a.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Eat a Garlic clove a day. The oils you sweat out of your pores will cut down on the biting.... and your breath will alleviate you of any conversation you do NOT want to be engaged in.

9:49 a.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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I am guessing (?) jewelweed was probably used by the indigenous, native North Americans  ( commonly referred to as "Indians"), for this purpose.

I read somewhere that they used their own urine, as well.

I should find-out what jewelweed looks like, as it grows here near the Chesapeake Bay, and what the preparation methods are.

                                                  ~r2~

10:50 a.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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 It grows in moist, mostly shaded, transitional areas- like along streams, the bottom of wet shaded cliffs, along roadsides in a cool shaded gorge, along moist hedgerows and edges of woods, etc. You can Google Jewelweed to find lots of images of what it looks like. Simply crushing the fresh succulent stems and leaves into a salve is the best method. The leaves wilt extremely quickly after cutting, and will not revive easily or at all. Refrigeration will keep some fresh for about a week.

I have not tried any preparations to attempt preserving it longer.

12:59 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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I use garlic internally in my food which during my bicycle tour across Alaska kept the bugs from biting. Just add a sprig of garlic to meals.

Bug netting help keep them away from your ears or having to hear them buzz so much, but garlic works best. And does'nt wash off. It comes out in your sweat and breath. Your girlfriend may not approve but the female mosquitos don't like it either and they are the ones that bite!

3:55 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Aloe Vera juice straight from the plant helps a lot with the itching and inflamation. The plant is one of God's little wonders. Not sure how effective with the Aloe from the store though-I am betting it is also effective. For my kids it is calamin lotion-they have sensitive skin.

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