Despite my fears of being attacked by all forms of predator in the swamp, it turns out that the most bothersome beast is the teeny tiny mosquito.
The mosquitoes in south Florida generally die off in October, but late season rains this year have caused their pesky presence well into December. As one colleague very scientifically put it – it’s a bad bug year.
Since bugs seem to be magically drawn to me, I have collected hundreds of itchy red spots over the past couple weeks. At times, the itching has been enough to drive me insane. And it didn’t help when I discovered that the Benadryl and Calamine lotions I was using to try to combat the itch were well expired – we’re talking 2007.
So over the weekend I took it upon myself to conduct an experiment with various itch remedies I found online. I used a different treatment on the bites on each limb – right arm was clear nail polish, left arm was (less expired) Caladryl lotion, right leg was hand sanitizer, left leg was toothpaste. Then for my feet I used a method that I hadn’t heard of before – thermal shock – which involves running very hot water over the bitten skin for 5 minutes, immediately followed by running very cold water over the skin.
The result? I was covered in all sorts of strange substances and only moderately less itchy. The thermal shock provided great relief for my feet for a few hours, so I continued using that method over the next couple days. The nail polish also seemed to work fairly well for me. But each person is different, so some of these treatments may work better for others. I would say though, if using toothpaste, go for the white paste rather than the blue gel, lest you end up looking like a sticky Smurf – I learned the hard way.
What about you? Do you have any brilliant anti-itch remedies that you swear by? I have a wonderful neighbor back in Tennessee who makes her own concoction with jewel weed to stop the itch – which I’m hoping to score some of for Christmas 😉 I would love to try any other recommendations anyone may have!