Risks and natural remedies against insect bites - Blog Nuvita

Protecting your health in summer: risks and natural remedies against insect bites

Protecting your health in summer: risks and natural remedies against insect bites

Summer brings the pleasure of long days outdoors, but also the annoyance of insect bites from mosquitoes, sandflies, ants, and other insects. These small "bites" can pose a particular risk to children, pregnant women, and the elderly. There are various risks associated with insect bites for these categories of people, and the active ingredients in mosquito sprays and after-bite creams, even in the most delicate formulations, may cause problems for some individuals. Fortunately, there are effective natural remedies; among these, the use of heat is one of the most immediate solutions for relieving symptoms.

What are the risks of insect bites?

Insect bites can cause allergic reactions, infections, and in some cases, transmit diseases, especially for more sensitive categories of people:

  • Children: The delicate skin of children is particularly susceptible to bites, which can cause more intense allergic reactions compared to adults. Additionally, children tend to scratch more, increasing the risk of infections.
  • Pregnant women: Pregnant women need to be particularly cautious, as some diseases transmitted by insect bites, such as the Zika virus, can have severe effects on the fetus.
  • Older people: With age, the immune system weakens, making older people more vulnerable to infections and complications resulting from insect bites.

Common products and their effects

Mosquito sprays and after-bite creams are commonly used to prevent and treat insect bites. However, the active ingredients and their potential toxic effects on health are not always known.

Among the most common repellents, the active ingredients include:

  • DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide): It is one of the most effective repellents, but it can cause skin irritation and, in rare cases, neurological effects if used in high concentrations or on damaged skin.
  • Picaridin: Similar to DEET in terms of effectiveness, but generally considered less irritating.
  • Natural essential oils, such as citronella, eucalyptus, geranium, tea tree oil, or melaleuca oil: While offering more natural protection, they can cause allergic reactions, irritations, or other issues. Citronella, for example, can cause skin irritations in people with ultrasensitive skin, eucalyptus is not recommended for children under 3 years old, and tea tree oil, although having antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, can cause contact dermatitis or allergic reactions in some individuals.

Among the active ingredients in after-bite creams are:

  • Hydrocortisone and ammonia: These ingredients can relieve itching and inflammation, but prolonged use can cause side effects such as skin irritations and sensitization. Even plant-based after-bite creams can have contraindications: Aloe Vera, although generally safe, can in rare cases cause allergic reactions, as can calendula and chamomile, although one of the gentlest plants, can cause allergies in people sensitive to the Asteraceae family.
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Tips for safely using mosquito sprays, sticks, repellents, after-bite creams, and oils on the skin:

  • For children: Use products specifically formulated for children and prefer those that have been dermatologically tested. Children's skin is thinner and more sensitive, increasing the risk of irritation and substance absorption. It's important to always test a small amount of product on a small area of skin to check for any reactions.
  • For pregnant women: It's essential to consult your doctor before using any product containing essential oils or other natural active ingredients.

Some essential oils can have negative effects on the fetus; for example, clary sage oil and rosemary should be avoided during pregnancy.
For the elderly: People with chronic skin conditions or health problems should consult a doctor before using new natural products. Older people's skin tends to be thinner and may be more prone to allergic reactions and irritations.

Natural remedies for mosquito bites: the effectiveness of heat

A natural and surprisingly effective remedy for relieving the itching and pain of insect bites, especially mosquito bites, is the application of localized heat. A safe method for all age groups from 2 years of age.

How does heat work and why is it effective?

When a mosquito bites, it injects its saliva into our skin. This saliva contains anticoagulants and enzymes that prevent the blood from clotting, facilitating the mosquito's bloodsucking. Additionally, it contains proteins that our immune system identifies as foreign.
The immune system recognizes the proteins in the saliva as foreign substances and responds by releasing histamine, a chemical that causes inflammation. Histamine causes the blood vessels to dilate and increases the flow of fluids to the bite area, resulting in redness, swelling, and itching. Applying a heat source directly to the bite for a few seconds helps denature the proteins in the mosquito's saliva, reducing the body's immune response and consequently the itching.
Simply heat a teaspoon in hot (not boiling) water and apply it to the bite for a few seconds to quickly feel the beneficial effect of heat on the mosquito bite. A more effective system to immediately eliminate the itch in a completely natural way is to use a portable thermal after-bite device, such as Bye Bite by Nuvita which in just 3 seconds removes the itch, immediately relieving discomfort and swelling. This device is safe for the health of the whole family as it is certified as a medical device, has no contraindications, and offers a safe and immediate alternative for relieving the symptoms of insect bites.

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In conclusion, while natural products offer a valid alternative to chemical repellents, it is still essential to use them with caution. Even natural ingredients can have harmful effects if not used correctly, especially for more vulnerable categories such as children, pregnant women, and the elderly. Taking the necessary precautions, performing preliminary tests, and consulting a doctor can help ensure the safe and effective use of these natural remedies.
Using a thermal after-bite device is a valuable solution that can help enjoy a serene and insect-bite-free summer.


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