My West Coast upbringing didn’t prepare me for the mosquito hell of the East Coast. As I write this article, I’m sporting massive, lumpy mosquito bites on my arms and legs. Seriously, my body’s reaction to mosquito bites is so disgusting that I’ve started egging people on to touch them as some sort of twisted party trick. They’re always appropriately grossed out, which is fun, but that doesn’t make the uncomfortable pain and itchiness disappear.
Every time I’m outside at night I’m waiting to get bitten like:
So basically, mosquitos have, like, zero chill around me. If you clicked on this article, you can probably relate. So here are seven things you need to do if mosquitos are ruining your life right now.
DON'T. EFFING. SCRATCH.There's this one episode of the cartoon Daria in which Daria develops this disgusting rash. I can't help but think about it every time my mosquito bites pop up. It's so hard not to scratch at it because it feels so good. But don't. Seriously. What makes these bites so itchy is the reaction that the mosquito's saliva (ew) has with our skin. Every time you scratch at your bite, you're spreading the saliva around more, which spreads the infection area. The less you scratch, the faster the infection will go away. Which brings us to... Daria/MTV
Treat The Itching And Inflammation ASAPThe best way to prevent scratching is by treating the bite ASAP. There are so many mosquito bite remedies, like using aloe vera, toothpaste, or lavender oil directly onto the bite. Some even throw in some oatmeal into bathwater to help sooth the irritation. But if you want to keep it simple and use something you might already have around the house, use some anti-itch cream with at least one percent hydrocortisone as the active ingredient. The itching should stop in about fifteen minutes. I used this Aveeno brand anti-itch cream last night and I can safely say that my bites are a lot less red, a lot less inflamed, and a lot less itchy right now. Target
Wear Lighter ColorsMosquitos are visual creatures and have a much easier time seeing big dark things (i.e. you wearing your all black everything summer witch look) than light things. So you might want to consider forgoing your ultra-dark wash jeans and wear lighter colored clothing instead when the mosquitos are out to play. It's not like you won't ever get bitten ever again if you wear white everyday, but you might evade some particularly vision dependent mosquitos that way. American Apparel
Invest In Some Mosquito RepellentThe best way to deal with mosquito bites is by preventing them from happening. Mosquito repellant is probably the easiest way to do that (aside from never leaving the house until the weather gets cold again). The most powerful repellents contain a chemical ingredient called DEET. While effective, some people are weary of putting products with DEET on their skin, due to fear of the harshness of the chemicals leading to a nasty reaction. If you're in that camp of keeping it a little more "natural," then look for repellents that say that they're DEET-free (trust, it'll say it on the front of the bottle). The best DEET-free repellants contain lemon eucalyptus oil, which is the only natural mosquito repellant that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has certified as legit. Amazon
Be Mindful Of What Time Of Day You're Participating In Outdoor ActivitiesMost mosquitos are really into two things: Carbon dioxide and sweat. You can't do much about the carbon dioxide thing, because you emit that every time you breathe, and holding your breath isn't a very practical way to make mosquitos go away. But you can do something about the sweat! Duh, it's warm out, you can't just not sweat. But you can avoid activities in which you're going to sweat excessively. Mosquitos are most active at dawn and dusk, so that nighttime game of one-on-one basketball or that early morning run around your neighborhood is basically mosquito feedin' time. I know, I know, it's nicer to do those things when the sun isn't so oppressive, but if your mosquito bites are severe, changing up your routine is worth a shot. Try exercising indoors around those prime biting times instead. Pinterest
Your Scent Might Play A Factor Into Your Bite AppealMosquitos are like people: There are all different types with all sorts of interests. Some are attracted to biting birds, others are more into humans. Some are going to be attracted to the scent of your smelly feet and bite your legs, others are going to be attracted to the sweet smell of your perfume and go for the neck. You won't know what a given mosquito will go for, but to keep on the safe side, it might be best to make sure your body smells as neutral as possible. Ease up on the body spray, make sure your feet don't reek, etc. Hey, every little bit helps. istock.com
Don't Buy Into Myths About Mosquito BitesOMG, so many myths out there about what does or doesn't attract mosquitos. Let's see, are any of these familiar to you? Mosquitos like people with Type-O blood. If your blood is sweeter, mosquitos will bite you more. Mosquitos hate the smell of garlic, so eat a lot of it, rub it on your skin, etc. Don't eat bananas, mosquitos love the smell! B12 vitamins are a mosquito magnet. All of the aforementioned are either old wives tales or the results of shoddy studies. Like I said, mosquitos are unpredictable creatures, attracted to and repelled by people for all different kinds of reasons. So you can only do so much to prevent bites. Before you stop eating bananas or bathe in garlic (which, to be fair, would repel just about anything), do a little research and separate fact from fiction. istock.com
Where’s the absolute worst place that you’ve gotten a mosquito bite? Any other mosquito bite remedies to rec? Tell us in the comments!