Ready or Not #221: Bug Bites Be Gone

Have you noticed all of the buzzing in the air lately?  There seems to be a lot of stinging “no-see-ums” and regular see-ums like mosquitoes, bees, flies and other annoying stinging insects this year.  I think it probably has something to do with the moister than usual weather – I’m guessing.

Unfortunately if you didn’t think ahead and apply insect spray before going outside, you are probably nursing a really itchy bump or two about now.  Too bad insect spray won’t do anything for you after the fact.  Fortunately there are topical applications that you can apply that usually have lidocaine or some other deadening agent in them to relieve the pain.

As good as those treatments are you can make your own anti-itch topical application with stuff from your regular first aid kit; all you need is rubbing alcohol and a regular aspirin or two.

To make your own anti-itch topical formula, first take a couple of aspirins and crush them into powder.  It is kind of hard to crush them easily so to make it easier, start by cutting it in half and then in quarters in a pill cutter if you have one.  If not then just use a small knife.  If you don’t have a mortar and pestle to continue crushing them, then put the aspirins in a spoon and use the back side of another spoon nestled on top to crush them together.  This works pretty well.

After crushing the aspirin, add it to about a 1/4 cup of alcohol and stir it around until dissolved.  Store it into a sterile, air-tight container.  The next time that you have an itchy bug bite take your bug bite solution out and with a Q-tip or cotton swab, rub some of that solution on and it will help take the itch away.  It isn’t the alcohol that relieves the irritation (the alcohol is just the carrier); it is the aspirin that is the pain reliever.  Let it dry and apply as often as needed.  We use this formula all the time.

Knowing simple little problem solvers like the stop-itching formula can make your life so much simpler.  There are enough complications in life already and to be able to stop an itch with just a little alcohol and aspirin, or stop a nauseous stomach with ginger, or cure diarrhea by eating blackberry jam without seeds, can make dealing with the bigger problems so much easier.

Just an afterthought.  Did you see that incredibly big sand/dust storm in Phoenix on the news last week?  Wow!  As I watched it blow across the city I couldn’t help but wonder how many people had dust or breathing masks on to protect themselves from the Valley Fever spores that were blowing around in the dust?  I really hope that the Phoenix residents don’t experience a Valley Fever outbreak – that would just be miserable.  Keep your first aid kits and 72-hr kits accessible and then use them when you need to.

And get your water stored.

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