I remember summers at the cottage in a little sleepy town, about an hour north of Toronto. Blackfly season was in May and June. Blackflies are like mosquitos, but amped up a few levels. They leave a itchy and painful welt, and seem to be even more aggressive than their biting cousin. They take no prisoners!
Imagine riding an ATV in the woods and having to keep moving, because if you stopped, the swarm of blackflies and mosquitos that are right behind you would finally be able to take their lunchbreak with you. Or swimming by the shore, and staying underwater as much as possible to keep the blackflies from trying to even the score.
The solutions were mostly not suitable for an approved childhood at the cottage. You could layer on the clothing, but it was hot and humid. You could choose to stay inside, but we were going back to the city in 2 days and didn’t take the trip to sit around. Dousing yourself and spraying on the chemical soup worked ok, but we often thought about it after the fact. Lastly, there was the reactive solution of just dealing with the aftermath and managing the itch.
I used to sink my fingernail into the bites horizontally and vertically, and felt some relief from that. Aloe soothed the inflamed skin, but didn’t do much for the itch, I concluded. It wasn’t until the past 10 years or so that essential oils really became more mainstream. I didn’t have any when I was a kid. They work amazingly well. There are essential oils for repelling biting bugs, and oils for relieving the itch and swelling. While many essential are effective at restoring your time outside, my top 3 favorite oils for bug bites are:
- Lavender- Helps calm the swelling and relieves the itch, almost immediately.
- Peppermint- The cooling sensation of the menthol in this oil is a nice touch to itch elimination
- Tea Tree-Most oils have an antibacterial nature to them like Tea Tree, but Tea Tree also helps with the itch.
With essential oils becoming a more common product to find in the homes of people who are fond of natural healing, these healing little miracles in a bottle are easy to use, convenient to store, as they don’t need refrigeration. They have a long shelf life, too.
Even better, essential oil blends in spray bottles are a great product to have on hand. They are easy to apply, non-chemical, and convenient. There are many products that have come on the market in a blended spray form, which combines the best of a few oils to give a pleasant, natural fragrance and combine that with functional properties like anti-swelling and anti-itch.
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