Gnat bites typically lead to symptoms like swelling, itching and blisters. Usually these bites are no more than an annoyance and cause only local swelling and irritation. That said; biting gnats can be irritating and in some cases can lead to a severe allergic reaction. So if you experience swelling, difficulty breathing or swallowing or other serious side effects, you must seek medical help immediately. Gnat bites do not last for more than 3-5 days; do use the following home remedies to get rid of gnat bites fast.
1. Take antihistamine
An antihistamine stops itching, swelling and prevents infections. Gnats are sucking insects but they inject a poison into the blood to make the blood more fluid and fit for suction. To counter this poison the body produces histamine which causes the swelling and redness. By taking antihistamine medicine like Benadryl, you can stop these symptoms. You might need to take antihistamines for a few days until the itching and pain go away completely. Avoid these medicines when driving or using machinery as some of them can cause drowsiness.
2. Apply olive oil
Apply some olive oil on the bitten area to stop gnat bites from itching. Sometimes, gnats bite on the eye lids which can cause the eye to swell and shut completely. Olive oil is a safe remedy to use on the eye in order to reduce swelling and itch.
3. Ice pack or cold compress
Apply ice or cold compress to the gnat bite to bring down swelling and itchiness. The cold prevents the spread of histamines and also numbs up the skin to prevent pain.
4. Steroid ointment
A mild steroid ointment like 1% hydrocortisone can also stop gnat bites itching. Crotamiton over-the-counter medicine can help soothe the pain and itch. If the pain is severe, take medicine like Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen to get relief. For extreme swelling, you might need short course steroid oral medication. Your doctor can advise you.
5. Avoid scratching
It is important not to scratch the skin as it could lead to secondary infections. Watch out for other problems like redness, swelling, blister formation etc.
6. Homeopathic remedies for gnat bites
There are several homeopathic remedies for gnat bites.
- Canth 200 cures and aborts swelling and inflammation.
- Calendula and Hypericum will help with itching and pain.
- Urtica Urens 30c is good for itching, burning and sharp pain that usually follows gnat bites.
- Carbolicum acidum 30c is useful for severe allergic reactions.
7. Witch hazel
Apply a thin layer of witch hazel on the skin but not on open wounds. Witch hazel stops itching caused by insect bites and prevents infections.
8. Essential oils
Essential oils are very effective and provide a measure of relief for gnat bite swelling and itching. Use the following blend immediately after getting bit:
- 1 tsp organic cider vinegar
- 3 drops of Thyme oil
Mix the vinegar and oil well and apply the blend all over the itchy skin. Repeat application 3-4 times a day. Other inflammation relieving essential oils are Lavender, Peppermint and Chamomile oils. A blend to repel gnats and prevent them from biting is as follows:
- 19 drops Lemon oil
- 25 drops Cajeput oil
- 13 drops Cedarwood oil
- 19 drops Geranium oil
- 2 oz Sweet Almond oil
Mix all oils well and apply to the exposed areas of the skin to prevent gnats from biting.
9. Rubbing alcohol and Cedarwood oil
A mixture of one teaspoon of rubbing alcohol and 10 drops of Cedarwood oil can also calm redness, irritation and itchiness. This remedy is also very effective in preventing gnat bites in the first place. Spray it all over your exposed skin when outdoors or in an area known for gnats. Gnats hate the strong smell of essential oils and are repelled by them.
10. Clove oil
Dilute a bit of clove oil with coconut or olive oil and apply it to exposed skin, around the ears etc to prevent no-see-ums or gnats from biting. Never use concentrated clove oil directly on the skin as it can cause peeling and allergic reactions.
Try these 10 home remedies to stop gnat bites from hurting.