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Best remedy for itchy bug bites: Ways to Stop the Itch

Ways to Stop the Itch

When a mosquito bite causes itching and discomfort, you can often find relief with kitchen staples like oatmeal, honey, or baking soda.

Mosquito bites are the hallmark of warmer weather. Though the bites are often harmless, some can cause complications.

Mosquitoes bite because they are attracted to human blood. The bite, which might not appear until hours later, creates a bump that is typically swollen, sore, or itchy.

Mosquitoes can carry diseases, although the likelihood of being infected by a mosquito depends largely on where you live. Another rare problem caused by a mosquito bite is a serious reaction to the bite itself.

If you have a mosquito bite and develop symptoms of an allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing, or a swollen throat, contact a doctor immediately.

You may not feel it immediately when a mosquito bites you. But the bump the bite leaves behind comes with a persistent itch that can linger for days. Creams and ointments can help, but you can also beat the itch with things that are probably already lying around your house.

One remedy for an uncomfortable mosquito bite may also be one of your favorite breakfasts. Oatmeal can relieve itching and swelling because it contains special compounds that have anti-irritant qualities.

Make an oatmeal paste by mixing equal amounts of oatmeal and water in a bowl until you have a spackle-like substance. Spoon some paste onto a washcloth and hold it, paste-side down, on the irritated skin for about 10 minutes. Then wipe the area clean.

If you have many bites, try an oatmeal bath instead. Place 1 cup of oatmeal or ground oats into a bathtub full of warm water. To avoid potential plumbing problems, you may want to tie up the oats first in a piece of cheesecloth or another light fabric. Think of it like a giant tea bag that you’ll toss into the bath water. Soak in the oatmeal bath for 20 minutes.

Cold temperatures and ice can reduce inflammation. The cold also numbs the skin, which can give you immediate but short-term relief. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using a cold, damp cloth or an ice pack to relieve the itching caused by a mosquito bite. A bag of crushed ice can also work well in a pinch.

Do not put ice directly on your skin, because it can cause damage. Instead, put a barrier such as a washcloth between your skin and the ice.

To relieve itch, apply a cold pack for up to 5 or 10 minutes, several times a day.

Turning up the temperature on your bug bite may also help you get relief. There’s no evidence to say how well it works, but you can buy a special tool such as BiteAway that applies direct, controlled heat to the bite. This is said to reduce swelling and itching. The treatment only takes a few seconds, but these tools can be expensive.

To try for a similar effect, soak a clean cloth in water that feels as warm as you can comfortably stand (but be careful not to burn yourself). Wring out the cloth and apply it to the bite. Re-soak the cloth as needed to keep it warm, and continue for up to 10 minutes. Do not apply heat therapy to an open wound.

This sugary sweet substance is a common pick among home-remedy enthusiasts. Honey has been used for hundreds of years as a treatment for ailments like sore throats and dry skin. Medical grade honey has many antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

A small drop on an itchy bite could potentially reduce the inflammation. It may reduce your temptation to scratch, as scratching skin covered in honey can create a sticky mess.

A common household plant, aloe vera has many uses beyond shelf decoration. The gel has been shown to reduce pain from burns and help them heal faster. That’s why it may be a good bet for healing a bug bite, too.

To try this, cut open a small section of the plant. Apply the plant’s gel to the area that’s irritated. Let it dry, and apply again as needed.

Found in virtually every kitchen, baking soda has a multitude of uses — from baking bread to clearing drains. Otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda may also provide relief from a mosquito bite.

It’s easy to make a baking soda paste, and you can use it in a similar manner to oatmeal paste. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water to create a paste. Apply it to the bug bite, and let it sit for 10 minutes before washing it away.

If skin irritation occurs, stop this treatment.

The fragrant basil plant is a key ingredient of many of your favorite Italian recipes, but it does double duty as a mosquito-bite remedy. The plant is used in herbal remedies for skin infections, and the antioxidants found in basil leaves may reduce inflammation.

To make a basil rub, boil 2 cups of water and add half an ounce of dried basil leaves. Leave the mixture to steep until it’s cool. Then dip a washcloth into the liquid, and rub it gently on your mosquito bites.

Alternately, you can chop some fresh basil leaves up until very fine, and rub them on to your skin.

If you notice irritation, stop using this remedy.

For centuries, apple cider vinegar has been used as a natural remedy to treat many medical conditions, from infections to blood glucose problems.

If you have an itchy bite, dab a drop of vinegar on it. The vinegar can help reduce stinging and burning sensations. It can also act as a natural disinfectant if you’ve been scratching too much.

If you need more relief, try soaking a washcloth in cold water and vinegar, and then applying it to the bite. If you have many bites, dilute 2 cups of vinegar in a tepid bath and soak for 20 minutes. Beware, a hot bath may make itching worse.

If skin irritation occurs, stop this treatment.

Not only can onions bring tears to your eyes, they can bring relief to your mosquito bites. The onion’s juices, which leak out from the freshly cut bulb, may reduce the bite’s sting and irritation. Onions also have natural antifungal and antibacterial properties that can reduce your risk for an infection.

Cut a slice from an onion — the type doesn’t matter — and apply it directly to the bite for several minutes. Rinse and wash the area well after you remove the onion.

The petite leaves of the thyme plant are delicious on potatoes, fish, and more. They may also help ease the itching of a mosquito bite.

Thyme is longstanding natural remedy for skin issues. It has antibacterial properties, so it can help reduce your risk of irritating and infecting the skin around a mosquito bite.

To get the most benefit from thyme, finely mince the fresh leaves. You can apply the leaves directly to your bite, and let them sit for 10 minutes.

You can also make a concentrated liquid by bringing water to boil, and adding several sprigs of thyme. Let the sprigs steep until the water is cooled. Then dip a washcloth into the thyme-infused water, and apply to the bites. Leave the washcloth in place for a few minutes.

For extra relief, wrap a thyme-soaked washcloth around an ice cube for a natural cooling effect.

Peppermint oil is another centuries-old natural remedy used to relieve itching. A small study from 2016 suggests this oil can relieve itching from long-term causes like diabetes and liver conditions. So in theory, it could also work for temporary causes like an insect bite.

Mix a few drops of peppermint oil into an ounce of carrier oil, like coconut oil or olive oil. Dab a small amount of the mixture onto your mosquito bite and gently rub it in. Do not apply undiluted peppermint oil to your skin.

You can also add a few drops of peppermint oil to a bathtub full of tepid water for a soothing soak.

Take care when using essential oils, as they can interact with medications or have other unexpected effects. Do your research, always talk with your doctor first, and follow all safety guidelines.

This treatment is not appropriate for young children.

Lemon balm is a leafy plant that’s closely related to mint. The herb has been used for centuries as a soothing all-natural treatment for everything from anxiety to upset stomach. An older 1999 study found that a cream containing lemon balm extract relieved itching and other symptoms in people with cold sores.

For mosquito bites, you can apply finely chopped leaves directly to the bite, or you can buy a lemon balm cream.

Lemon balm contains tannin, a natural astringent. In addition, lemon balm contains polyphenols. Together, these natural compounds ease inflammation, speed up healing, and reduce the risk of an infection.

Witch hazel is a natural astringent you can buy over the counter in pharmacies and grocery stores. Like lemon balm, witch hazel contains tannins, which can reduce inflammation when applied to the skin.

Used alone, witch hazel can be beneficial for any number of skin irritations, from minor cuts and scrapes to hemorrhoids. Applying witch hazel to the skin reduces inflammation, soothes the burning and irritation the bite causes, and can speed up healing.

Apply a small amount of witch hazel to a cotton ball. Gently dab or swipe it over the bite. Allow it to dry. Repeat this as needed.

Arnica is another natural product you can buy to treat minor skin concerns. The herb itself is toxic, but can be diluted to produce the products available in stores. Options include creams and gels.

Although it’s a popular home remedy, scientific evidence shows mixed results. However, many claim that arnica reduces bruising, pain, swelling, and inflammation when applied to skin. So you might choose to try it on a mosquito bite.

All you need to do is apply a small amount of arnica cream or gel to the bite. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how to choose a good quality arnica product.

Chamomile, which is a member of the daisy family, is a common natural remedy for many ailments. When applied to skin, the oils found in chamomile can reduce itching and inflammation.

Steep a tea bag filled with the dried, crushed flowers in water in a refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then squeeze any excess water from the tea bag, and apply it directly to your bite. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Wipe the area clean with a wet rag. You can chill the tea bag in the fridge for additional applications later.

It’s rare, but be aware that chamomile can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Garlic is a well-known natural remedy for conditions from heart disease to high blood pressure. While more conventional treatments may be preferred for those serious conditions, a bit of garlic applied to an irritating bug bite is an easy home remedy for a mosquito bite.

But before you slice into a bulb and apply it to your bite, know that applying cut garlic straight to a skin wound or bite may cause burning and stinging.

Instead of that, finely mince up fresh garlic and stir a small amount in with an unscented lotion or petroleum jelly. These ointments and creams will help reduce the garlic’s potency but still allow you to get relief from the garlic’s natural antibacterial and healing effects.

Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, then wipe it off your skin. Wipe the area down with a cool washcloth. Apply more later if the itching persists.

Of course, the best way to get rid of mosquito bite irritation is to avoid a bite altogether. Keep in mind that these insects are more active in the evening and at night. If you want to enjoy a summer evening outdoors but fear the petite blood-sucking bugs, cover your skin and stay away from standing water to reduce your exposure. If you are bitten, quickly stop the swelling and itching with a safe, cost-efficient homemade remedy.

If you notice irritation or other negative reactions when using a home remedy, stop using it right away.

Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch? Plus 10 Tips for Itch Relief

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Mosquito saliva can trigger histamine production. Certain at-home remedies, such as applying honey or corticosteroid cream, may help relieve the itch. But some popular remedies can increase skin irritation.

Many people get bitten by mosquitos each year, but bites can affect people differently. When mosquitoes bite, they draw out blood while injecting some of their saliva. Their saliva contains an anticoagulant and proteins.

The proteins are foreign substances that trigger the body’s immune system. To fight them the body’s immune system releases histamine, a compound that helps white blood cells get to the affected area. Histamine is what causes the itchiness, inflammation, and swelling.

Sometimes if a person is bitten for the first time they won’t have a response. This is because their body hasn’t formulated a response to the foreign invader. And some people may not notice bites at all. Others may build up a tolerance over time.

When an irritating bite does appear, it’s good to know what remedies work to ease the itchiness.

Q:

Why do mosquito bites itch more after you scratch them?

Anonymous

A:

When you scratch a mosquito bite, this causes the skin to become even more inflamed. Since inflammation causes your skin to itch, you can get into a cycle where scratching will cause even more of an itchy sensation. In addition, by continuing to scratch you run the risk of breaking the skin and causing an infection, leading to even more of an itch.

Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, CNE, COIAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

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It may take a little experimentation to see what works best for you and your bite. Most of these remedies can be used as many times as needed to soothe the area. For medications, follow the instructions on the bottle.

If you catch the bite soon after the mosquito bites you, quickly wipe the bite with rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol has a cooling effect when it dries, which may relieve itching. Avoid using too much alcohol as it can irritate the skin.

Honey is an antiseptic and antibacterial ingredient that also has wound healing properties. It’s shown to reduce inflammation and can also help prevent infection. Don’t wear it outside, though, because the honey’s sugar can attract more mosquitoes.

Read more: Honey for allergies »

Oatmeal has active properties that help soothe insect bites and allergic reactions, chicken pox, and dry skin. You can add oatmeal to a bath or apply it as a mask on your bug bite. Make a paste by adding a little water to colloidal oatmeal and apply to the affected area. Wash it off with warm water after 15 minutes. You can also add honey to your paste for extra benefits. Moisturize with a cream after.

Green and black tea’s antiswelling effects may not just be useful for swollen eyes. Tea’s anti-inflammatory effects may help with the swelling. Soak a bag of green or black tea and pop it in the fridge to cool it down. Apply the cold tea bag over the bite to ease the itchiness.

Basil has chemical compounds that can relieve itchy skin. You can apply basil oil like a lotion or make your own at home. To make your own rub, boil 2 cups of water and 1/2 an ounce of dried basil leaves. After the mixture cools, dip a washcloth into the pot and apply it on the affected area. For a more immediate treatment, chop up fresh basil leaves and rub them on your skin.

Antihistamines help lower the histamine count in your body and reduce inflammation. These are available over the counter and help with itchiness and swelling. You can take them orally (Benadryl or Claritin) or apply topically (calamine lotion) over the affected area.

Lidocaine and benzocaine are numbing agents in over-the-counter creams. They offer temporary relief from itchiness and pain. For extra benefits, look for creams that contain menthol or peppermint.

Aloe vera gel is shown to have anti-inflammatory properties for wound healing and calming infections. The cool feeling of the gel may also soothe any itchiness. Keep an aloe vera plant around the house. You can cut the leaves and apply the gel directly.

Doctors recommend corticosteroid creams for itching. These creams are known to help with inflammation for skin irritations, but avoid using them on open wounds or on your face. Long-term use can also cause side effects like thinning or worsening of skin, excessive hair growth, and acne.

Some creams use garlic extract due to its wound healing and anti-viral properties. But don’t rub garlic directly on your skin. Raw garlic can increase skin irritation and inflammation. Instead, dilute minced garlic with coconut oil and apply that to the affected area for a few minutes.

These home remedies could increase skin irritation or cause unwanted side effects such as acne, burning, dry skin, and more.

  • baking soda
  • lemon or lime juice
  • toothpaste
  • vinegar

If your bite causes anaphylaxis seek medical attention. Anaphylactic shock is a life-threatening condition. You can tell if someone is having this reaction if they:

  • break out in hives
  • start wheezing
  • have difficulty breathing
  • feel as if their throat is closing up

Someone in anaphylactic shock will need an EpiPen injection. But anaphylactic shock for a mosquito bite is rare and more commonly caused by other stinging insects.

Read more: First aid for bites and stings »

For other people, mosquito bites can cause more serious symptoms, such as:

  • blisters,
  • lesions
  • hives
  • high fever
  • swelling in the joints

See a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms along with your mosquito bite. An antihistamine like cetirizine, fexofenadine or loratadine, are all available over the counter. These medications may help curb these bodily responses.

If you’ll be traveling to certain countries, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Seeing a doctor is also important if you’ve been living or traveling in certain areas of the world where bloodborne diseases like Zika and malaria are common. Mosquitos can spread these diseases from person to person. There are vaccines available for some of these diseases.

A mosquito bite can last for hours to a few days. The length of a mosquito bite and its symptoms vary depending on the size of the bite and the person’s immune system. Itching or scratching the bite can increase the length of time it lasts.

Sometimes mosquito bites leave small dark marks long after the itching and bite itself have faded. People with sensitive skin tend to have these lingering marks, but they don’t have to be permanent. To avoid hyperpigmentation, look for creams with vitamin C, E, or niacinamide. Don’t forget to apply SPF 30 sunscreen on areas exposed to the sun.

The best way to avoid mosquito bites is preparation and prevention. Use insect repellant if you are going to places where mosquitos are. Natural insect repellants are effective, but you may want to use commercial ones if you are traveling to another country.

Limiting or avoiding exposure to certain things may help minimize your risk for mosquito bites. Below is a list of things known to attract mosquitos:

  • sweat and body odor
  • light
  • heat
  • lactic acid
  • carbon dioxide

Alcohol intake is also shown to be associated with a higher probability of being bitten. You may want to avoid drinking the night before you’ll be in an area with mosquitos. It may also be a good idea to keep some travel-size aloe vera and alcohol wipes handy.

Keep reading: 10 natural ingredients that double as mosquito repellants »

90,000 the best products from itching after mosquitoes and other insects – July 6, 2021

Mosquitoes are guided by body temperature – therefore, people with superficially located capillaries

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oxecks in the summer a common thing, especially if you spend a weekend outside the city. At the same time, they cause a lot of discomfort, and sometimes they can be really dangerous – even if we are talking about ordinary bees and mosquitoes. In the regular column “What hurts you?” today we are figuring out together with doctors how the bites of different insects differ, why you can’t scratch them and how to relieve itching after a bite.

It is possible to divide insects (by adding some arthropods to them) into two groups: stinging and blood-sucking (there will still be moths and butterflies that do not sting or bite). The first group includes bees, bumblebees, hornets, ants, the second group includes mosquitoes, fleas, horseflies, ticks, bedbugs, lice. Since stinging insects attack for self-defense, and blood-sucking ones for food, their mechanisms are different – when stinging, a person interacts with poison, and when bitten, with saliva, which contains histamine-like substances. They help slow down blood clotting and, irritating the epithelial cells, provoke a local allergic reaction, swelling appears, which can subsequently be accompanied by itching.

— Allergic reactions can be either local or systemic. Most often, these are skin rashes, which are very diverse: papular, hemorrhagic, urticarial (in the form of blisters), says Ekaterina Skvortsova, general practitioner, therapist at the Medsi clinic. – Depending on the type of insect, there are features: for example, when bitten by midges, it acquires the character of erysipelas, redness, swelling without temperature. When bitten by a mosquito – itchy nodular rash.

The first thing to remember is that you must not scratch the bite. And this rule is not taken from the ceiling: the fact is that when combing, pathogenic microflora can get there and then suppuration joins. By the way, for the same reason, you can not apply grass to the bite site, even plantain.

– It is necessary to treat the bite site with disinfectants: rinse with running water with baby or laundry soap, you can slightly salted water. If there are disinfectant solutions on hand, such as furacilin solution, treat them. You can use alcohol-containing medicinal tinctures, diluted with water one to one, advises Dr. Skvortsova.

To relieve discomfort, you can apply an ice cube or just something cold to the bite site – this soothes and relieves swelling. To get rid of itching and redness after mosquito bites, you can use pharmaceutical products – creams and ointments based on antihistamines (for example, Fenistil-gel, Fenidin, Dimestin, Dimetinden-Akrikhin).

– If you see that redness has begun to appear not even at the site of the bite, then the antihistamine will need to be taken orally. Severe allergies to non-stinging insects rarely occur, but it can happen – for example, such a reaction can occur to a horsefly bite, – says Ivan Skorokhodov, an allergist-immunologist at the UMMC-Health Medical Center.

All other folk ways to relieve itching and swelling doctor rejects. For example, he does not recommend using the Zvezdochka balm for this – it has a local irritating effect, this will lead to even greater vasodilation and increased edema.

Doctors call it not a bite, but a sting. Stinging insects are dangerous in that a severe systemic allergic reaction can develop from their poison – up to anaphylactic shock. It can manifest itself in the first three hours, so it is important at this time to observe the state of the stung. The reason for calling an ambulance may be difficult or wheezing breathing, speech problems, choking, too much (more than 5 cm in diameter) swelling from a bite in the face or tongue, red spots or hives outside the bite site, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea , vomiting, rapid pulse, anxiety, dizziness, severe weakness; the condition is deteriorating rapidly. If an insect has stung from the inside of the throat (this happens if you swallow a bee or wasp, for example, with a drink), a child under five years of age has suffered, or the stung person has severe chronic diseases, an ambulance should be called immediately. Ekaterina Skvortsova says that if the previous time there was already an acute allergic reaction to a bee sting, it will get worse with each subsequent time.

But it can get by with standard symptoms: a sharp burning pain at the sting site, swelling of the area around the bite, and an increase in skin temperature. In this case, the actions will be similar to a mosquito bite, adjusted for the sting – if there is one, it will need to be removed very carefully. To do this, wind a piece of gauze around your finger and push it out from under the skin with stroking, pushing movements.

– In no case should you roughly pull out the sting – it contains a bag of poison, and when pressed, the poison can get inside and worsen the consequences of the bite, – says Skvortsova. – Also, do not drink alcohol, as it accelerates the spread of poison throughout the body and interferes with the identification of symptoms that an allergy has arisen from a bite. Combing, treating the bite site with raw water, earth or clay is a direct way to infection of the wound. Another rule: do not apply a tourniquet to the injured limb.

The doctor advises not to kill an insect when it stings you – at the moment of death, they release a special enzyme that enhances the effect of the poison and is a signal for other individuals to attack. If this nevertheless happened and the victim received multiple bites, then an ambulance should be called immediately, without waiting for complications.

What to do if bitten by a mosquito and everything itches and itches

Health

June 27

You don’t have to develop willpower.

Why do mosquito bites itch so much

Mosquitoes pierce the skin with special mouthparts and suck blood through it. At this time, their saliva, which contains proteins foreign to humans, enters the skin. The immune system reacts to this and inflammation sets in, which manifests itself as an itchy pink bump.

Most people are slightly sensitive to mosquito saliva, so the reaction does not go beyond the bite. But for some, the immune system is more aggressive, so there is a lot of swelling, redness and soreness around. In this case, the temperature may rise, and the general condition may worsen.

How to relieve itching from mosquito bites

Although mosquito bites are very common, there is very little research on their treatment. The fact is that they heal so well: even if you do nothing, the discomfort from the bite will disappear in a couple of days. So scientists tend to focus on diseases that mosquitoes can carry.

This is why most recommendations are based on expert opinion and clinical experience.

Apply an ice cube

Ice slows down blood flow, which means it reduces the reaction to foreign protein – inflammation, pain, swelling and itching. Therefore, apply an ice pack wrapped in a light towel to the bite for at least 10 minutes. Another option is to rub the bump with an ice cube for 30 seconds.

Wipe the bite with an alcohol wipe

Alcohol causes the proteins in the mosquito’s saliva to break down, so the reaction should be less. Of course, this will only help immediately after the bite.

Apply calamine lotion

Calamine lotion reduces itching, so may also be suitable for mosquito bites.

Apply OTC steroid

Corticosteroids reduce immune response. Therefore, inflammation, itching and pain at the bite sites become less. Apply a very thin layer of cream, such as a hydrocortisone-based cream, spot on the bite.

Apply antihistamine ointment

Histamine is a chemical that is released by the immune system when it encounters an allergen. So apply antihistamine ointment on the bites to help reduce itching.

Take an over-the-counter antihistamine

For more severe reactions or more bites, you can drink an over-the-counter antihistamine to reduce symptoms.

What folk methods can work

These methods have not been tested by scientists to reduce itching from bites. But some of this is used in other situations, and some of it has been tested by experience. So if they help you, use them.

Apply tea bag

The easiest way to apply a tea bag that has been wrung out and cooled is to apply to the bite. You should not use a new one, so that it does not stain the skin.

In addition to ordinary tea, you can take chamomile, as it contains terpenoids and flavonoids, which have antioxidant and antihistamine properties.

Press the sachet against mosquito bites for 10 minutes and then wipe off any remaining tea with a clean towel. You can then put the bag in the refrigerator to make such compresses during the day.

Apply Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil reduces inflammation and is said to help with mosquito bites. Remember that it is better not to abuse it, as it can lead to irritation, an allergic reaction and contact dermatitis.

Apply baking soda paste

Add just a little water to baking soda to make a paste. It must be applied pointwise to the bites so that they do not itch so much.

Wipe the bite with vinegar

This substance can also break down the proteins in mosquito saliva, so you can wipe a fresh puncture with it.

Apply Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe Leaf Gel contains salicylic acid to help reduce itching and pain. So try spotting it on the bite.

Brush the bite with honey

Honey contains the enzyme catalase, which breaks down proteins. Therefore, it can reduce inflammation slightly. In general, anoint the bites with honey, and cover the top with gauze so that nothing sticks to you.

Apply oatmeal porridge

Gluten is said to soothe the skin. Therefore, you can grind the cereal in a blender, and then mix it with a little water to make a thick paste. It must be applied to the bite.

Apply pressure to the bite

Sounds strange, but pressure on the bite helps reduce itching. Someone generally makes two dents in the shape of a cross with a fingernail and thinks that this is the best way. Try different options, but try not to scratch the skin to the point of bleeding.

Grate the bite with an onion or banana

Not sure if it will help, but you can try. True, it is better not to leave onion juice on sensitive skin for a long time, because it can cause irritation.

Pat the bite

Instead of scratching, pat the bite. There is an opinion that in this way you will deceive the brain: it will think that you have scratched yourself.