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Hot Spoon Soothes the Itch of a Mosquito Bite

Hot Spoon Soothes the Itch of a Mosquito Bite
Bug insect itch west nile

Q. I must be especially tasty to mosquitos, since they attack me and leave other folks alone. I have read in your column about hot water to stop itching. I’ve got a different solution: warm a spoon in hot water and then put the back of the spoon on the bite. That stops the itch for several hours.

A. We have seen this suggestion on the Internet. It often includes the explanation that the heat denatures the protein that causes itching when mosquitos inject it under the skin.

We suspect that the actual mechanism has more to do with the temporary effect of heat on nerve endings. Years ago, we read about using heat (in the form of hot tap water) to relieve itching in the medical textbook,  Dermatology: Diagnosis and Treatment (1961). The itch sensation can be overwhelmed for several hours with this approach.

Take care not to cause a burn, which would be worse than the mosquito bite.

Some readers have also reported temporary relief by applying household products that contain herbal compounds, especially Listerine or Vicks VapoRub, to the itchy bite. If you have a remedy you find especially helpful, tell us about it in the comment section below.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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