Warm weather has arrived and the great outdoors awaits you. Whether you’re hiking on a forest trail, spending the day at the beach, or at a backyard barbeque, any time spent outside is also time shared with insects. No one can avoid the bite or sting of mosquitoes, black flies, gnats, spiders, bees and wasps; it is inevitable. You may not feel it at first, but then comes the swelling and ceaseless itching that compounds the swelling. Fortunately, Aloe Vera is an excellent solution to the annoying symptoms of bug bites that can also help the area heal faster!
Why Bug Bites Itch
Insects leave their mark in different ways. A mosquito bites by piercing your skin with its straw-like mouth to suck blood out. Gnats have four tiny cutters in their mouth to slice open the skin and suck blood freely. They are more painful than a mosquito bite, and victims are apt to lose a little more blood. Black flies actually gnaw and bite into the flesh to suck the blood out, and leave their victims looking like they have chicken pox. Wasps and bees sting and inject venom, causing considerable pain and irritation. Unlike mosquitoes, gnats, and black flies, which need the nutrients in blood to produce eggs, wasps and bees will only sting when disturbed or feel threatened or harmed. The same defensive actions can be said of spiders, whose fangs inject venom into the flesh when they bite, leaving their victims with red, inflamed, sometimes painful and itchy marks.
Bug bites itch because of the insect’s saliva.
That saliva may contain anticoagulants, toxins, and even anesthetic-like substances. Once the saliva mixes with the wound it triggers an immune reaction from the host. Your body’s immune system recognizes the insect’s saliva as a foreign substance and releases histamine as a defensive response, which may cause any combination of:
The histamine also causes your blood vessels to enlarge. That is what creates the swollen, itchy bump around the bite.
Aloe Vera’s Affect on Bug Bites
Aloe Vera is one of nature’s most versatile plants due to its many healing benefits. Much the same as Aloe Vera on rashes, applying Aloe to your bug bite can provide great relief and ease the painful itching and swelling. The gel within its leaves has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and antiseptic agents that will assist in treating insect bites and stings. Aloe Vera contains over 100 phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. Folic acid and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C and E are present. Many minerals are found in its juice, including iron, copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, chromium and manganese. These vitamins and minerals found in aloe vera not only have wonderful health benefits, but will help to reduce the pain, swelling, and itching of bites and stings. In addition to that, they will also help the bite to heal faster.
How to Use Aloe on Insect Bites
- Wash and rinse affected area with soap and cold water
- Let skin dry completely
- Apply Aloe gel liberally to affected area
- Let gel air dry before allowing contact with clothing
You can also cool Aloe Vera gel by refrigerating it. Applying the cold gel will help further reduce the swelling and calm any inflammation. The sooner you put it on to the bite, the better it will be.
What Type of Aloe to Use
It is important to use the specific species Aloe Barbadensis Miller, as this is the plant that contains all the healing vitamins and compounds Aloe has become famous for. If you are looking for a more convenient and portable option to using an actual plant, you can use a pre-extracted Aloe Vera gel. When buying a product from the store, be sure that the product you get is organic, pure, and free of alcohols & chemicals. You want to make sure the product you get is helping your skin more than hurting it!
Planning an outdoor activity? It may be a good idea to keep one of these Aloe vera products in your knapsack or carrying bag, along with a bottle of water. In a pinch, you can use the water to rinse the wound.