Take the Sting Out

Do pesky bugs and insects make a beeline for your body as soon as your skin’s in sight? If you get nabbed, try some of these simple remedies for zapping sting and quelling itch:

Apply a cold compress to soothe inflammation and relieve irritation.

Try calamine lotion, an over-the-counter sensation blocker that reduces itch and pain.

Use a paste of baking soda, meat tenderizer, and vinegar to break down the venom and draw out the burn. Another home remedy? Toothpaste, which seems to neutralize the poison at its entry point and provide mild anesthetic qualities.

Of course an ounce of prevention is worth about 10 tubes of Colgate, especially if you’re prone to allergic reactions, so heed these thoughts:

When outdoors, wear neutral colors. Bugs tend to gravitate toward bright hues. And avoid using fragrances; they also attract insects.

Keep your foods and drinks tightly sealed, especially if they’re sweet.

Try using insect repellents, but only in moderation. Some studies suggest the chemical DEET used in many bug sprays causes neurological damage. For a more natural approach, douse yourself with a 30% concentration of oil of eucalyptus, which a New England Journal of Medicine study found wards off mosquitoes for up to 2 hours. Listerine™ mouth wash has been found to work, too, as does garlic plus lemon juice.

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