When you interact with nature, sometimes nature hits back. Bug bites, plants that make you itch, and a whole host of other uncomfortable situations can arise when you are outside having fun. Oftentimes the alternative is to use store bought products, but these can be filled with harsh chemicals you don’t want anywhere near you or your family. The good news is that there are many natural trail and home remedies for soothing bee stings, making mosquito repellent, dealing with itchy skin after a run in with poison oak, and more! Here are some of our favorite, practical remedies to consider next time you go out on an adventure.
Mosquitoes are a classic example of a party crasher. We’ve all been driven indoors at one time or another by these pesky intruders. Sometimes you don’t even recognize they are there until it's too late, and by then you are scratching at those itchy bug bites. Luckily, there is an easy solution to relieve that itchiness: rubbing the inside of a banana peel on the mosquito bite. It may sound a bit silly, but it actually works! When you get bitten by a mosquito your body reacts by releasing histamines, which is what creates all the itching and swelling. The most direct way to deal with this is to use an antihistamine that will cause the itching and swelling to go away. Bananas are rich in antihistamines and antibacterial properties, especially concentrated in the peel. By rubbing the inside of the peel on the bite site, you can get instant relief. Plus you get to eat a delicious banana!
Now you know how to deal with mosquito bites after you get bit, but the even easier solution would be to prevent these bites in the first place. Store bought insect repellent is often filled with tons of chemicals you normally wouldn’t want to be putting on your body. Good thing making your own bug spray is easy, effective, and safe for the whole family. The secret ingredient is lemon eucalyptus oil, which you can find it at pretty much any health food store, and of course online. All you need for this wonderful mosquito repellent is lemon eucalyptus oil, vanilla extract, and witch hazel. Simply add about 30 drops of the lemon eucalyptus oil to a jar, then add one teaspoon of the vanilla exact, and 4 ounces of witch hazel. If you don’t have any witch haze , you can substitute rubbing alcohol or even vodka. Once all the ingredients are in the jar, mix it up well and add to a spray bottle. Reapply every couple of hours if needed, and enjoy being mosquito free!
Another pain many of us have experienced are bee stings. While they aren’t out to get you, bee and wasp stings do happen; and when they do, they hurt. We have a couple easy, natural solutions to help when this happens, using ingredients you may already have in your pantry! For this first remedy, all you need is baking soda and water. Baking soda is a quick and easy go-to for bee stings. Mix the two ingredients together into a paste, and apply a thick layer over the affected area. You can cover with a bandage if you’d like and leave on for 15-30 minutes. This helps to neutralize the bee sting venom, reducing the swelling, itching, and pain. Another way to neutralize the discomfort of a bee sting is honey. Use honey by applying a small amount over the sting site, this will act in the same manner as the baking soda. Using honey to relieve the sting you received from a bee seems quite fitting. Apple cider vinegar also provides relief for the discomfort following a bee or wasp sting. The easiest way to do this is to soak a cloth or cotton ball in the apple cider vinegar and apply as needed. These remedies help with the discomfort following a bee or wasp sting but are in no way a replacement for medical attention needed to help with an allergic reaction.
Anyone that has had a reaction to poison oak/ivy knows how miserable it can be. It itches like crazy, and easily spreads in the first day or two. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to help with this. Using tea tree oil provides relief and speeds up the healing process drastically. If you have the unpleasant surprise of coming in contact with poison oak/ivy, the first thing you should do is wash the area off. Tea tree oil is an anti-inflammatory, and with the rash causing severe inflammation it's the perfect pairing for relief. It helps reduce swelling, itchiness, and makes you feel much closer to normal again. Before using tea tree oil it is important to know it has a pretty strong smell. It will also dry out your skin a bit wherever it is applied. This will help dry out the rash, speeding up recovery but will leave a dry patch on your skin. This is an easy fix and a small price to pay for the relief you will experience.
Many of us have used lavender essential oils at one point or another. But what you may not know is lavender oil has many uses and is an excellent addition in any adventurer’s kit. Lavender oil is amazing and extremely versatile. It helps heal and alleviate sunburns, cuts, scrapes, helps with allergies, sleep, and can even act as a natural deodorizer. The rule of thumb when using lavender essential oil is to apply a small amount to whatever ailment you may be dealing with. For sunburns you can gently rub a few drops into the impacted areas. You can take the same approach for cuts, scrapes, and blisters. For allergies apply a few drops to the back of the neck, chest, and even a drop between your eyes. For better sleep apply a couple of drops onto the bottom of your feet, or place a drop or two on your eye mask when traveling. You can also add lavender oil to something like coconut oil, or hand lotion and apply to areas this way. Lavender can also be used to make a natural room deodorizer, lacking the chemicals found in store bought air fresheners. For this, mix together two cups of water, one tablespoon of baking soda, and a few drops of lavender oil in a spray bottle.