The two trips I've taken to the lake we frequent in Minnesota with family have left me in irritating agony from bug bites. Most of these bites are from that state's unofficial bird, the mosquito.

The common loon is the official state bird of Minnesota.

In July I had welts all over my back for a week from some mutant breed of mosquito. They were the worst I'd ever had. But they were more manageable than the several dozen bites that have tortured my feet for the last three days.

The irresistible itch from the ticklish skin of my feet, ankles and calves has caused me to scratch until blood was drawn on more than one occasion.

What's the best way to rid yourself of this curse? Well you could ask Tasha, who published the handful of suggestions texted in to us this morning as the temptation to treat my feet while on the air was too much. Some were useful in my recent experience, others were nonsense.

No more fluffy B.S. to pad the word count... here's what worked best for me in descending order.

1. ICE

The best remedy was the easiest one to come by. The most relief from the itch came from ice. Whether it was a bag of ice, a gel ice pack, or an ice cube rubbed over the bites, ice made the torturous itch go away. It seems so obvious but it wasn't until just yesterday I thought to put an ice pack on my feet. Cold reduces swelling. Bug bites are often inflamed and swollen. The ice pack knocks them down. The ice also numbs your skin so you can't feel the itch! It's freakin' great! But don't put a towel under the ice pack, it won't work. Tell your mom to keep her towel and put the plastic bag of ice cubes right on the bites. Leave it on long enough for your skin to go numb and you'll be in heaven. probably no more than 5 or 10 minutes. Gel packs directly on skin aren't good. A paper towel or thin cloth is enough insulation to allow it to be effective and not give you frost bite. The gel pack we have actually has a cloth like liner on it so it isn't so rough on your skin.

2. PRESCRIPTION STEROID CREAM

Obviously this isn't something you can just go buy, but I had a tube of triamcinolone acetonide cream from a previous skin condition. It worked great for a few hours but took about 5 or 10 minutes to start working.

3. TOOTH PASTE

Of all of the wacky remedies I tried, my Crest Pro Health worked amazingly well. I don't know why, but a small amount squirted on my fingertip rubbed on the bite knocked down the itch. The downside is it's kind of sticky if you put on socks, but it works good in a pinch.

OTHER STUFF

I also used generic versions of Benedryl cream and hydrocortisone. I think they work? But it takes so long I don't know if they are working or my brain finally was distracted enough to stop obsessing about the itch.

I also tried the Benedryl Itch Stick. Again, it worked eventually but the medicine didn't come out reliably. The directions say to dab it on the bite but that's hard to do when you itch so bad that foot amputation doesn't sound like the worst outcome. I was trying to put it on like coloring with a magic marker.

Previously I wrote about how deodorant works, and it did more than wishing it to go away, but the relief didn't last long. Most of these mosquitoes that bit me were allowed to finish because I don't recall feeling bites.


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