Even if you take every step to bug-proof your backyard or body—which is especially important with all the buzz around the Zika virus—you can still get bit by mosquitoes and other insects. They're persistent. The females are, at least. They're the ones feasting on your blood (males don't bite), because they need human blood to develop fertile eggs. Delightful.
We spoke with Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City to find out the absolute best ways to stop the itch so you can get on with your summer sans the irritation. Try one method at a time and note how well it works for you so you can narrow it down to your go-to solution for the rest of the summer and beyond.
"Use OTC hydrocortisone cream for the itch," Jaliman says. The steroid is very commonly used to treat skin conditions like insect bites, poison ivy, eczema, allergies, and rashes. It has few side effects and can reduce the itch, redness, and swelling of bug bites.
"Make a cold compress with 1 part milk, 1 part ice water; or, make green tea and cool it off in the refrigerator and use in a compress ," Jaliman says. The lactic acid in the milk and the antioxidants in the tea are both anti-inflammatory.