Every year mosquito-transmitted viruses such as Dengue, Chikungunya and, most recently, Zika cause several hundred million infections. The unpredictable nature of these outbreaks, combined with the enormous genetic diversity of these viruses, makes it challenging to prepare vaccines or antiviral for current and future threats. Currently there are very few vaccines and no antiviral drugs available for treatment. Wouldn’t it be great to have a common strategy against many of these viruses?

One thing most of these viruses have in common is that they are transmitted by a limited number of Aedes mosquito species, especially Ae. albopictus and Ae. aegypti. These mosquitoes are rapidly increasing their territories due to climate change and globalization, facilitating the large outbreaks of viruses such as Zika we’ve seen in the past decade.

Mosquito bites are very common and annoying especially during the hot summer days. Mosquitoes are carriers known as “vectors” for a host of diseases, most commonly of West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The saliva that the insect leaves behind after it “strikes” is what causes all that itchiness, and if you have forgotten your mosquito repellent at home when you went camping, or working in the garden, rest assured – you’ll be their dinner!

The good news is that you can get instant relief and that needs only a little bit of effort. You’d be surprised how many things you can find in your kitchen that’ll help you fight that bite. Here are 6 easy home remedies to treat mosquito bites.

1. Ice
Cold temperatures help in reducing inflammation. Do not place the ice directly in your skin, instead use an ice pack or a wrap the ice in a cloth and gently put it on the affected area for 10-15 minutes.

  1. Lime Juice

    Lemons are known for their anti-inflammatory and anesthetic properties. They help in reducing swelling and pain. Simply slice a lemon and rub it on the affected area. You can also make a paste of lime juice and crushed basil and apply it for a soothing effect. You can use mint leaves also, they are known for their cooling sensation.

3. Cucumber

Similar to ice, a cold slice of cucumber helps to cool and soothe itchy skin. Unlike the ice, it won’t melt against your skin within a minute, so that’s a win!

4. Tea Bags

When you get a nasty mosquito bite, chemicals called histamines are released by the skin, which make you want to dig your fingernails in and itch.

Tea bags contain tannins which have astringent properties; they work to relieve inflammation and reduce swelling.Leave a tea bag on your bite for 5 minutes or so, but make sure it’s cold.

5. Essential Oils

Lavender, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Basil, Thyme, Rosemary… take your pick! They’re all great for relieving bites; just make sure you read the instructions and dilute them with water before applying to your skin.

  1. Salt

    Salt is an easy remedy to treat mosquito bites. It is helpful because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Mix some salt in water and apply the liquid on the affected area.

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