Natural Remedies for Bug Bites and Sunburns

Break out the flip flops, pack the beach tote, fire up the grill . . . summertime is here! Along with all that fun in the sun can come some of the not so pleasant parts of summer – bug bites and sunburns. Here are some all natural home remedies to relieve your pain, itching, and swelling so you can get back to enjoying your summer.

Bug Bites
Most insect bites and stings will heal on their own, but you'll still probably have to take measures to alleviate swelling and itching.

First, make sure to clean the skin around the bite or sting thoroughly with soap and water or with rubbing alcohol. If you are stung by a bee, make sure to remove the stinger first. Applying ice immediately can help prevent or reduce swelling and itching.

My personal go-to remedy for bug bites is vinegar, particularly red wine vinegar (although friends tell me other types work just as well). Applying vinegar immediately after a bite eliminates itchiness and prevents swelling. If vinegar alone is not enough, try applying a paste of baking soda and vinegar.

Other natural home remedies for bug bites include:
  • Rubbing the insect bite with soap. 
  • Dabbing toothpaste on the bite. 
  • Rubbing the inside of a banana peel on the bite. 
  • Applying tee tree oil to the sting. 
  • Rubbing the bite with the cut side of a freshly cut onion slice. 

Besides being easy and effective, all these natural remedies are safe to use on even the smallest members of your family.

Of course we should all be using broad-spectrum, SPF 30+ sunscreen every day, but sometimes sunburns do happen. If it happens to you, try these all natural remedies for relief.

Aloe vera lotion and gel is probably the most popular sunburn soother. It is antibacterial and helps stimulate the immune system. Aloe vera can be very soothing as it helps your skin heal.

Vinegar can help relieve the pain of sunburn. Dampen a cloth or towel with distilled white vinegar and apply it to the sunburned skin for about 20 minutes. Repeat as necessary. Adding half a cup of baking soda to your bath can also help sooth your skin.

Lotions, creams, and oils with antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E cream can help heal damaged skin. Creams and ointments with Calendula, a healing plant with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antiviral properties, can also help sunburned skin heal.

Finally, check the Environmental Working Group's sunscreen guide to find the right sunscreen for you and avoid future burns. 

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