Going barefoot in soft Spring grass was a favorite experience when I was a child...until I discovered bees & bee stings. After that, I was a little more careful about where I walked without shoes.
It felt a lot like stepping on a piece of glass. Mom made a paste of baking soda and water and had it on the sting within minutes of the incident, and it sure seemed to help cool the burn. Unfortunately, I'm one of those allergic to bee stings, so we had about ten days of home treatment to take care of it.
Naturally, that meant keeping the swollen foot up, and it also meant soaking it in warm epsom's salt water. That felt great, especially when the pins and needles sensation came along. Both of these treatments probably saved me a lot of pain.
Baking powder paste can help pull some of the poison out of the sting. It's not the only thing that can. The only use for tobacco I've ever had was as an emergency pulling agent. Damp tobacco placed over the sting may also pull some of the venom out.
Insect bites may be helped by baking soda as well. For those not allergic, camphorated oil is another useful product found in many homes. My grandparents believed in the use of meat tenderizer for the irritation and itchiness.
There is at least one insect bite that may require more effort. If you've never been bitten by chiggers, count yourself lucky. The intense itching can require a round of prednisone to survive. One thing you can do is to paint each of the bites with nail polish. While I've been known to use the first bottle at hand, you may want to invest in a bottle of clear polish for this purpose.
It is possible to prevent bites from occurring, or at least to make them fewer and farther between. Eating certain foods and spices may make your sweat to much for the bugs. Cayenne, marjoram, ginger and marjoram are four that could be useful.
Mary Bodel, MH
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