DermTV – How to Treat Insect Bites [DermTV.com Epi #209]


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Hello, I’m Dr. Neal Schultz [pause] and welcome to DermTV. A few weeks ago I discussed how to apply insect
repellent so you could get the maximum protection against insect bites
but the reality is, whether you’re using insect repellent or not some
people are going to get insect bites. So what’s the best way to treat them?
Well the only reason we really need to treat insect bites is because they
itch and when we itch we scratch and that’s the problem. Scratching causes
three different issues. The first problem with scratching is that while it sure
feels good and helps to stop the uncomfortable itching it actually causes
more itching. You get a rebound flare of the itching, so you’re
sort of getting into an itch- scratch cycle. The more you itch the more
you scratch, the more you scratch the more you itch. Secondly, scratching insect
bites can actually cause dark staining of the skin, just the way picking
pimples can cause a dark staining and those dark stains are very difficult
to treat. And third and perhaps most important, scratching can cause
infections in your skin and obviously that’s something we’d like to
avoid. So the best way to treat insect bites is first of all, with an oral,
non-sedating, antihistamine. You can get Allegra by prescription or Claritin
over the counter without a prescription. Second, we want to use mentholated
lotions or creams to help stop the itching. When menthol touches our
skin it causes a cooling sensation and that cooling sensation erases
the itching and it feels much better. If you’re at home you can take an
ice-cube and touch it with an ice-cube. Ice will stop the itching without
causing any increase in itching. Lastly, whatever you do, don’t
use topical antihistamines like topical Benadryl because they can cause delayed
allergic reactions. For the redness and the bumps, topical cortisone creams
or ointments are helpful, 1% hydrocortisone is usually available without
a prescription such as the Cortisone-10. If after three or four days
of these measures your insect bites and your itching aren’t getting better
it’s time to see your dermatologist for stronger treatment.

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21 thoughts on “DermTV – How to Treat Insect Bites [DermTV.com Epi #209]

  1. The ice cube tip works every time. My mom used it on me when I was a kid and covered in mosquito bites from being in the park all day. As for my apt., I just have screens over all the open windows and make sure to close my apt. door quickly to keep any critters from sneaking in. 8)

  2. When the insect bites gets too itchy, I always use my anti-acne gel to treat it. The gel seems to shrink the bumps faster! Maybe it's because of its soothing and anti-bacterial properties?

  3. thanks for the tip. We have a big issue with mosquitos here because of the dengue. have a great day and thank you for what you do

  4. This is super helpful, up until I went to South East Asia I was never affected by bites but when there I was brought out in these massive raised hard welts that lasted up to a week & I think were caused by Sand Flys, it was almost constant & de itching was almost unbearable at times, almost ruined my holiday. Since then no matter where I am, I sometimes get them, usually by the water. It happened n Amsterdam & even home here n Ireland. I hate it & find it hard to sooth!

  5. thanks for the tips doc! but how about once the bite is gone? i have a million dark spots from previous bites and am very self conscious about them and cant seem to get rid of them..what can i do to make them go away or at least fade them?

  6. I have used Cortizone10 for yrs. w/excellent results. I 1st used it when my mom-in-law had itchy skin patches, & her dr. recommended it. It worked so well for her that I bought a tube of it, & have used it ever since. This was over 10 years ago. I think hubby puts a sign on my back when I am outside that says "Bite her, not me!" because mosquitos luv me. Cortizone10 relieves itch almost instantly. Also, I take Claritin everyday for allergies. Tx 4 sharing very useful info! 🙂 Carla

  7. Dr. why is it that when my friend gets bitten by mosquitoes she keeps having to take trips to the bathroom? It only gradually reduces after clartin has had time to work. It bothers her a lot. Thanks.

  8. I tried tu put an ice cube during 15 minutes and it stopped itching forever! ThANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I get one or two bites per night 🙁 my mother says I hace "Sweet blood" hehehe.

  9. ive had a tiny (about a dime sized) red patch on my leg for about three weeks now. it itches like crazy. it looks like a ringworm, but do ringworms drain? tinactin doesnt seem to be doing its job… do i have impetigo or something else? if it is a bug bite, shouldnt it be long gone by now?

  10. I just an episode of my show with tips about Bug bite prevention and dealing with them afterwards! Check it out at my channel!

  11. well a mosquito is just pesky but today a fly landed on my arm it got its sucker thingy and put it on my arm and it really stung

  12. I have two bug bites on my forehead and school is starting soon. It looks like two giant pimples :p. they don't even itch but I wanna get rid of them.

  13. Vinegar also helps
    http://jtrader.hubpages.com/hub/Itching-and-Blurred-Vision-from-Using-Permanent-Hair-Dye

  14. you can also use,
    toothpaste
    honey 
    vinegar 
    aloe 
    hot water ( maybe not smart,but hey it works)
    lavender oil 
    tea bag
    tea tree oil
    lemon slices 
    lime slices
    lemon juice
    lime juice

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