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4 Simple Ways To Outsmart Your Next Insect Bite

Because, seriously, how can such a tiny thing cause so much hurt?

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First thing's first - insect bites suck. Sometimes, in more ways than one.

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"Non-venomous insect bites, from insects such as mosquitos, pierce the skin to feed on your blood. The anticoagulant that the mosquito injects to prevent your blood from clotting triggers a mild allergic reaction, and often causes small lumps to form on your skin that are usually very itchy," Associate Professor Greg Goodman from the Dermatology Institute of Victoria, tells BuzzFeed Life.

Gross? Yes. Preventable? Sadly, not always, which is why it's important to know how to deal when you start to feel the very real struggle of an insect bite.

1. Say no to scratching.

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If you've been bitten by an insect like a mosquito, leaving the bite alone will allow the wound to heal naturally, faster. If you've had a run in with a bee or wasp, instead of scratching, seek to gently remove the stinger as soon as possible, advises Goodman.

If you don't feel like you have the willpower to hold out, look for something that will help stop the itch. "Over-the-counter oral antihistamines, soothing bath oils, calamine lotion and topical local anesthetic creams may provide relief from the itching," says Goodman.

2. Make sure you're not having an allergic reaction.

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If you have a history of allergic reactions, or the person stung hasn't been in contact with this type of insect before, keep an eye out for tell-tale symptoms. Goodman suggests seeking medical treatment if facial swelling, an allover rash or difficulty breathing is present.

3. Ice, ice and ice again.

Getty Images/iStockphoto Evgeny Karandaev

If your bite is super painful or swollen, ice is your answer. Apply direct to the bite for 15-20 minutes initially, and repeat hourly if necessary, advises Goodman.

4. Look for household items that can soothe your bite.

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"Soothing a bite may provide relief and reduce itching, however, the bite will still need to heal naturally," says Goodman. Basically, if you can't deal with the pain, these are some things you can use to make life a little more pleasurable, while you wait for that bite to heal.

1. A cold, damp - preferably green - tea bag will help, thanks to it's soothing properties.

2. Honey has an antibacterial agent, so it may help a bite from becoming infected, says Goodman.

3. Creams containing turmeric, chamomile and peppermint may all be useful for the itch.

4. Baking soda or white vinegar diluted in water may also help to relieve that intense itching feeling, Goodman suggests.

5. Just be patient.

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Give your body time to heal itself. "Healing takes one to two days and bites heal faster when they are not scratched, as this can irritate the skin and cause infection," says Goodman. So don't touch and leave that bite to sort itself out, in the least painful way possible.

This post was originally published as "11 Things You Already Own That Can Heal Insect Bites" and listed basil, mouthwash, toothpaste, aloe vera, lemon and banana peel as potential items, which could soothe bites. After further investigation and expert insight, we have removed these suggestions from this post.

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