Tips For Treating Mosquito Bites

Dr. Greene’s tips for treating mosquito bites:

Tips For Treating Mosquito Bites

Once bitten, the mainstays of treatment are cool compresses, antihistamines, anti-itching compounds, and anti-inflammatory medicines.

  • For a cool compress, apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel or soak a washcloth in cold water and press it on the bite.
  • Ask your pharmacist to help you select an appropriate antihistamine for your child. Some are available by prescription only. You might have to balance strength versus drowsy side effects. Zyrtec¬†(cetirizine), an antihistamine for children that is available over the counter, antihistamine for children, usually works very well while not being very sedating.
  • The simplest anti-itching compound is a paste made of baking soda and water. Use just enough water to make a sticky paste, and spread it on.
  • Calamine lotion works in a similar way, and usually the effect lasts longer. Other children prefer a menthol lotion such as Sarna.
  • A topical anesthetic containing pramoxine (such as the prescription PrameGel or the over-the-counter Caladryl) can take away the pain and itching.
  • For the anti-inflammatory part of treatment, ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) can reduce redness, pain, itching, swelling and fever.
  • Topical steroid creams of various strengths can also be useful. Occasionally reactions to mosquito bites can be severe enough to warrant systemic steroids.
  • Studies suggest that some natural anti-inflammatory remedies are very effective in some people: oral evening primrose oil (Lancet, 2:1120, 1982) and papaverine (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 13:806, 1985). You might find both of these in a health food store.


Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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