by Sophie S.
Biting insects, such as mosquitoes, take just a moment to bite, but the misery they leave behind can take a week or more to disappear. In the meantime, many sufferers are left with a fierce desire to scratch, even to the point of drawing blood. What can you do to stop scratching insect bites?
Apply a Soothing Topical Ointment
When you first notice an insect bite in the early stages after you have been bitten, take action by applying a soothing topical ointment before the itching gets so bad that you start to tear your skin off. Aloe vera, hydrocortisone, calamine lotion and witch hazel can all offer a measure of temporary relief when you are suffering from insect bites and are tempted to scratch the bite.
The key to success is to regularly apply the topical ointment throughout the day, as one application will not make the insect bite magically disappear or stop itching. Continue doing this until you start to see and feel a difference. As the days go by, the insect bites should start to shrink, provided you have not inflamed the bites by continuing to scratch them.
Cool the Skin Each Time You Feel the Urge to Scratch
Insect bites can become unbearable, to the point where you do not care about the consequences of scratching, such as the risk of infection, scarring or the prolonged recovery period. Whenever you feel the urge to scratch, you will find immediate relief by quickly cooling the skin.
For example, if you have insect bites on your feet, and wearing shoes has made the swelling and redness worse, place your feet in a bowl of ice water. The ice cold water will quickly soothe and refresh your feet, help reduce swelling and even numb the insect bites, so that you can cope more easily while the insect bites heal. Use this method several times throughout the day, or whenever you feel the urge to scratch, and the ice water will take care of the rest for you.
Insect bites can ruin your day and make it a challenge to think of anything else when all you want to do is scratch. But, scratching insect bites will only inflame rather than soothe them. In order to feel any real relief, you will need to regularly apply a topical ointment for insect bites, or cool the skin each time you feel the urge to scratch. By avoiding scratching the insect bites, you will help speed the recovery time and reduce the risk of scarring and prolonged suffering.