August 19, 2020
By Christine Cheng (R.Ph) and Frederick Cheng (R.Ph)
We enjoy being outdoors and staying active, but being in the great outdoors often means being bitten by bugs of all sorts. Whether it be a painful bee sting or an itchy mosquito bite, there are some natural options you can consider to help relieve your symptoms.
For those who have severe reactions to bug bites (i.e., painful, itchy swellings; we’re not referring to anaphylactic reactions) , a homeopathic mixture called “HOMEO-BITES” taken internally prior to possible exposure can help your body adapt to insect bites, i.e., when you get bitten, your body will not react so violently. Homeopathic APIS MELLIFICA taken orally can be very effective to bring down the itch and swelling of an insect bite. Along the same lines, DAPIS gel is a topical preparation that can be applied directly to the bite. For the pain resulting from the painful poke of a stinger, consider taking a homeopathic preparation of LEDUM PALUSTRE orally. Apis and Ledum are great options to keep in your hiking or camping first aid kit and they can be used in your furry family members if needed. Be on the watch for insect bites that have increasing area of redness around it, is increasingly painful, and/or feel warm or tender as this could indicate infection. If these localized symptoms are accompanied by fever and/or chills, make sure you seek medical help immediately.
Prevention of insect bites is always important. Wear long clothing in muted colours where possible. DEET is the most well-known insect repellant, but for those who are looking for a more natural alternative, PICARIDIN (synthetic version of piperine found in pepper plants) is also an effective repellant against mosquitos, flies, and ticks. Natural oils of lemon, eucalyptus, and citronella have been found to have some efficacy against mosquitos, but they do not work as well as DEET or picaridin in repelling insects, nor do they last as long and thus require more frequent application.
With over a month left until the official end of summer, there is still ample opportunity to get out and enjoy the great outdoors! Keep a few extra items in your backpack to keep the worry of bug bites from interfering with the fun of being outside.
Fred and Christine Cheng are a passionate, charismatic sister-brother pharmacist team at their unique, family-operated Pharmasave stores in Cloverdale and Steveston, B.C. They specialize in natural remedies and compounding for both human and veterinarian use. Everything mentioned in their article is available InStore. Articles, Q&A, blog posts and all materials submitted for publishing is the intellectual property of Cloverdale Pharmacy Ltd – reproduction in part or whole, in print or online, without written consent and permission is prohibited.