Battling back against those pesky mosquitoes

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- From prevention to treatment, there are a lot of ways to deal with the massive number of mosquitoes in the Valley.

"One here, one here, over here on my back," Valentino said, showing 3TV viewers his bounty of bites.

Like many others in the Valley, the 8-year-old is being chewed up by mosquitoes, and he says the bites are very itchy. It's a decidedly unpleasant situation.

"Annoying, frustrating, hard to play outside, everything," Valentino said.

You can thank the mass amounts of monsoon moisture for the mosquito madness.

"A lot of people are coming in; that's why we're out of a number of different products," said Jim Solomon of Cabela's.

In fact, Solomon tells 3TV the run on repellents says it all. People are in desperate need of defense from the onslaught and Cabela's has a lot of options to choose from.

"Whether they rub it on like 30-percent DEET here or they spray like the Repel, it's just a matter of what you want to use to keep bugs away," he said.

If you are like little Valentino, though,  and cannot keep the bugs at bay, a simple Google search turns up plenty of options for relief.

"I've seen people coming in smelling like an Italian restaurant because of all the different oils and garlic that they put on their skin," Dr. Eric Goldberg said.

While the smell can be off-putting, home remedies such as toothpaste and essentials oils can work.

Goldberg says those kinds of remedies affect the acid-base balance of the skin.

"What that can do is break down some of the proteins that are in the venom from the mosquitoes and maybe kind of shorten the reaction," he said.

Another good option, over-the-counter medicines such as antihistamines or creams like hydrocortisone, which can do more than just soothe the itch.

"Putting hydrocortisone cream on will help stop that reaction. Aside from just treating the itching, it'll actually make the bug bite go away faster," Goldberg explained.

However, because everybody's skin is different, Goldberg says it may take some trial and error to figure out what soothes you.

The worst thing you can do is something of which most everyone is guilty -- scratching.

"When you scratch, you tear the skin and when the skin is broken you run the risk of infection, and a bug bite that gets infected can become a problem," he said.

If left alone, most bug bites will heal in about a week.

Related stories