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Most people have been bitten by a bug at least once in their lives. While bug bites are typically self-healing, drugstore shelves everywhere are amply stocked with over-the-counter bug bite remedies. Do these over-the-counter treatments aid the bug bite healing process, or are they just a waste of money?
Over-the-counter bug bite treatments include antihistamines, corticosteroids, lidocaine, and benzocaine; however, their effectiveness is questionable. Oral antihistamines are only helpful for initial reactions to bug bites, while topical antihistamines are not recommended. Topical corticosteroids can only be used for a short period of time, and oral corticosteroids are only prescribed for the most severe of cases. In addition, studies have proven the topical anesthetics lidocaine and benzocaine to offer minimal to no relief from bug bites. Then what should you do if you get bitten by a bug?
If you get bitten by a bug, the best course of action is to apply a cold compress to the site of the bite to ease pain, itching, and/or swelling. Then, it is recommended that you cleanse the area to prevent infection. Additional itch relief can be achieved with household ammonia, minimizing discomfort for up to 90 minutes. Severe allergic reactions, including excessive swelling, requires immediate medical attention.
If your bug bite worsens, contact us today to schedule a consultation. Our board-certified dermatologists are experts at treating allergic reactions to bug bites and other skin conditions. Our nine conveniently located offices welcome patients from Queens, Long Island (Albertson, West Islip, Commack, East Setauket), New York City, Bergen County, NJ, Union County, NJ, and all surrounding areas.