Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mosquito Bites: A Stinky Home Remedy

Evil incarnate.
In college, my bio-anthro professor bragged about going on digs to Africa and other mosquito-laden locales and how, though he got bitten just as often as anyone else, something in his genes or body chemistry made it so he never had to feel that evil itch. I wonder if his colleagues ever wanted to punch him in the face for this bragging. I sure did. And I'm sure a percentage of my readers feel the same urge. The same percentage that, while our camping mates complain about six mildly itchy bites, sits stewing and scratching our 23 lumps. The same percentage that, instead of getting small, slightly irritating bumps, develops excruciating, massive welts, or multiple lumps following the path of a vein infected by a single bite, or even bright red squiggly blobs with definite borders. My dad and I liked to find shapes in these blobs on my arms, sort of like cloud watching, "This one looks like a pine tree!" "Really? I think it looks like an garden gnome! See the nose and hat and shoes?"

Well, guess which percentage I fall into. Welts, trails of lumps, funky shapes, and itch itch itch itch itch, all the way home. My reaction to these bites is, in fact, so horrible, the only thing that keeps my crippling arachnophobia in check is the thought that the eight-legged monsters of my nightmares, which I fear irrationally, work continuously to deplete the population of the even more foul mosquito, which I fear with good reason.

A recent (and thankfully rare) heatwave in SF brought out the buzzing little buggers, and I have the wounds to prove it. I see this as an opportunity to share with my fellow sufferers a remedy that changed my life.


Yes, it's that simple. Hydrocortisone, colloidal oatmeal, and other ointments barely take the edge off. But, a few years ago around a campfire at a rodeo when I was near tears with discomfort, someone told me to try chopped onion. Skeptically, I went to the cooler and grabbed a few dices from a large bag I'd chopped up for breakfast burritos the next day. Hopeless, I held them directly on my exacerbating welts. Oh lordie, the itching stopped. Almost instantly. It worked so well, I didn't even really mind that after awhile I started to develop a slight miasma of eau de taxi driver.

So here I sit, typing this post with small pieces of this bulbous vegetable affixed to my arms in a patchwork of Band-Aids, filled with relief instead of distracting annoyance. What kind of pal would I be if I didn't pay forward such worthy advice? Stink it up, my afflicted friends, stink it up.


  1. Thanks V! I'll try it next time. I welt up too, and I think I can say that I share your immense hate of the most useless bug on the planet. (I know, I know, they're a prime food source for spiders and lizards and frogs, and some of them pollinate plants, but I still think they are useless blood-sucking insects!)

  2. Hmmm... If mosquitoes' only purpose are to feed spiders, and spiders' only purpose are to eat mosquitoes... See where I'm going with this?

  3. Holy crap! Are you serious? All this time the answer was sitting right next to me on my counter! This is huge. I would say I can't wait to try it out but I am going to home that I don't have to worry about it any time soon.

    I love your posts...

  4. Awesome!! Thanks for sharing!

    For years (in Idaho) I was one of the lucky people that wasn't really bothered by them, and then I moved to Ontario, just a few short blocks from Lake Ontario. Now the wretched little bloodsuckers leave horrible welts, some to the point of bruising. And they love biting my feet...

    Traditional methods have never been able to provide me with any relief, the only thing I have found so far that helps at all is Lush's Grease Lightning.

  5. Thank you for awesome article on interesting topic. This tips are really useful. I also recommend you to read this one in case you need to find more information about home remedies: