Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mosquito Bites

I have a home remedy for mosquito bites.

First of all, I'm very tasty. To mosquitoes, I look like a buffet.

Second, once that mosquito has bitten me, if I so much as look at the spot on my body where I've been bitten, an itchy red hive will start to swell up on that spot. Usually, they stay around the size of a quarter, but they've been known to spread into the size of a coaster, especially where the skin is tighter. And then my nose starts running. No joke.

When I was a kid, I used to just scratch them and suffer. In high school, I tried to ignore them, which totally worked... until the bites were inadvertently grazed by, say, my clothing... or when my friend B reached over and scratched them for me. That made them itch, and pretty soon, I was scratching and blowing my nose...

I have been eaten by mosquitoes in the Philippines, Mexico, and the US. However, in my trips to Central America and Europe, I've been smart enough to remember a home remedy that I think I heard on the radio somewhere.

The remedy is very specific: it is antiperspirant roll-on. Yes, the kind you used to roll under you armpits in high school.

And it has to be antiperspirant; it can't just be deodorant. And it has to be roll-on, it can't be a stick or gel. Here's why:

  1. When you apply it to your mosquito bite, the alcohol dries the skin immediately.

  2. The antiperspirant then keeps your skin from sweating.

  3. If the skin is dry and not sweating, it doesn't itch.

  4. If it doesn't itch, you don't scratch it.

  5. If you don't scratch it, you don't spread the mosquito's saliva to the surrounding tissue.

  6. If you don't irritate the surrounding tissue, you don't get the itchy red hive.

  7. If you don't get the itchy hive, your body doesn't release histamines.
So, no itchy hive, no runny nose; you forget about the bite, and in 48 hours your skin has handled the toxins and healed up.

I LOVE this remedy, it has made my life better. And yes, as a kid I tried all the stupid non-remedies (ice cubes, meat tenderizer, pressing an X into your hive with your thumbnail....) but antiperspirant really, really works. The only thing is that people who see me do it think I'm a total idiot for putting roll-on on a bug bite.

And what's worse: both antiperspirants and roll-ons are way out of style, so they're not easy to find in the drug store anymore. Compound that with the TSA restrictions on liquids in your carry-on, as well as a total lack of these products in China, and well... I've got myself an interesting situation.

I think I'll make it my mission today to find some roll-on. It will have to go in my checked luggage, along with the Skin-So-Soft, which I also have to find.

Just in case you didn't know, Skin-So-Soft is an Avon moisturizing lotion that apparently repels bugs. People prefer it to the scary-smelling repellents like Off! I'm down with that, but now I have to find me an Avon lady...


Orange said...

I'm not allergic to mosquito saliva. I think they're not very attracted to my skin, but when they do stop by for a bite, I brush them away itch. No red spot. Not ever.

My husband doesn't react to mosquitoes, either. One time, our son had eight big red spots, though. (Our neighborhood, on the shore of Lake Michigan, somehow has very few mosquitoes. He got the bites in Wisconsin.) I will remember the roll-on trick if he gets bitten in the future. So thanks!

jp 吉平 said...

Just 8 spots?

Last time I was in Mexico, I had to sleep with the window open. 30 red spots.

The following night, my host mom had an electric fan for me. Which is more than I can say than those pieces of shit at Seattle University.

Orange said...

Eight big spots is a lot if your body is that of a toddler.

jp 吉平 said...

Eight spots? I've had more than eight spots on one kneecap...

I found a 2.5 oz. roll-on of Arid XXtra Dry at la Target.

Micaela said...

One time I left my window open in Salamanca and got 12 bites. Not 30, but it did still make me crazy. I used the roll on trick. I don't remember if it worked though...

Anonymous said...

I went to pulau ubin, a tropical island just on the freaking equator, during an adventure camp. Stayed there for 5 days, 4 nights. Got 50+ bites. OFF! didn't work at all.

I was smart and actually slept in long sleeved shirt, long pants and socks. So I'm actually the one with the least amount of bites. Haha. But I still got biten anyway.