July's Topic of the Month - Insect Bites

July's Topic of the Month - Insect Bites

Our ‘Topic of the Month’ in July will be, ‘Insect Bites'

Severe reaction to insect bites is a feature that is experienced by many people with lupus. Lupus patients may be susceptible to insect bites and tend to have severe and prolonged reactions.

We’d really love to hear if you have any tips for coping with insect bites. Have you found a good way to prevent getting bitten? Do you have any good advice for soothing bites? Perhaps you had a particularly nasty bite and just want to share the photo.

We would like to hear all of your tips and experiences and we’ll compile them at the end of the month for an article. Please share in the comments section below, or email paul@lupusuk.org.uk

The article itself will be posted on the LUPUS UK Blog at lupusuk.org.uk/category/blog/

All submissions will be anonymised.

24 Replies

  • Hi, I have been taking vit. B1 for 2 years and they work perfect for me. I take them on recomemmendation from H&Barratt. Just ask.

  • Thank you for sharing your tip Daph39.

  • I don't think I have lupus but wen I go to my sisters in Spain I'm bitten within 2 hrs of arriving then within another 2 hrs they are infected weeping ,swollen ,red I have spent loads of money (which I can ill afford I have fibro ibs cfs crushed bulging disc in lower spine ) on different things to try to avoid being bitten or even after bitten I've now been told to try Apple cider vinegar which u take I teaspoon with water u can also dab it on the bite I go to Spain worse time of year August when really hot (my sister goes away for few days I look after animals ) so I'm going to start to take the recommended dose been told one week before I go and while I am there will let you know if it works there's also another remedey which is 4 drops citronella essentials oils 4 drops lemongrass oils, 4 drops of rosemary essential oil, 4 drops eucalyptus essential oil, 4 drops mint essential

    Oil1/4 pure witch hazel add together rub/ dap on bites never tried it yet


  • Hi basketcase54,

    Thank you for sharing your tips. Please do let us know how you get on with the apple cider vinegar.

    I would urge extreme caution with the other remedy that you have mentioned. Eucalyptus oil can be unsafe when taken orally without first being diluted. Taking 3.5 mL of undiluted oil can be fatal. Signs of eucalyptus poisoning might include stomach pain and burning, dizziness, muscle weakness, small eye pupils, feelings of suffocation, and some others. Eucalyptus oil can also cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

  • I live in Florida, USA, and yes, lots of bugs. I have found that if I want to use my back porch ( unscreened) the only thing that really works for all bugs is a Citronella candle.

    You can buy them in the garden section of all hardware stores here, they come in small pales and you place them at the base of seating area, around perimeter, not table height. You may or may not like the scent but they absolutely do work.


  • Thats a great tip. Thank you for sharing Susan :)

  • There is a very good stick you can buy in Boots which has witch hazel one end and tea tree the other, one is for day one for night. I put it on the minute I get bitten and it works, if I scratch, I infect, so fast application is best. Citronella candles if sitting outside helps or a lemon spray on me and surrounding seat.

  • Thank you for sharing your experiences Cas70, that's very helpful.

  • I was bitten by horseflies...must be 2 years ago one very hot summer...didn't feel the bites but during the night I woke feeling chilled to the bone and shaking then burning up alternately, I had to get up. Spent the night on the settee with ice wrapped in a flannel to apply to the burning on my legs, they were on both lower legs. I felt unwell but stuck it out till morning when the chills stopped, the bites were nasty...

    I ordered creams online, didnt want to trail to my gp. Antisan was one and I applied that for a few days which helped. When a family member saw the bites she insisted I called in Boots chemist, to go in the booth they have now in their shops, spoke to a lady in there who was satisfied the bite wounds were nice and clean and said I'd done the best I could but if they worsened in any way to see my gp. They didnt get any worse but they've left grey coloured scarring on both legs..very strange I've never seen that before

    I also recall a bite many years ago that had me scuttling to my gp as I felt so weird and he said I was in anaphylactic shock. He prescribed pills, cant remember what they were. This was long before a lupus diagnosis so whether the disease was active then I can't be sure. If I can find out how to post photos I will, have some tucked away somewhere

  • Hi chrisj,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. It sounds like you've had some pretty severe reactions. If you have photos that you want to share, you can upload one in a separate post on this forum, or email me at paul@lupusuk.org.uk

  • Lavender roll on.Always takes the itching away for me

  • Thank you for sharing your tip. :)

  • Avons skin so soft spray! They hate it. If it works for Scottish midges it will work for anything haha... Yet another symptom I have endured most of my life that had been dismissed. Great thread, ty for all the tips! Hi to all in limbo land 😌

  • Thank you for sharing your tip tee8077 :)

  • Avons skin so soft spray is my preference and I find it works! Although I did forget it recently due to complacency and had a nasty insect bite.

    Will try and include a photo

  • Run a metal spoon under hot...not boiling....water and hold the spoon on the bite. Apparently it kills the protein in the bite and relieves the itching. A heat pad will have the same effect.

  • That's a great tip Musicteach, thank you for sharing. Have you tried this yourself?

  • Saliva. Sounds gross but I discovered this when I was a kid and still never fails to work for me. Takes the itch away fairly quickly. It's not a terribly convenient suggestion for people that have sjogrens as well tho, sorry!

  • Thanks for sharing your tip 1985mum. I don't suppose you know what it is about saliva that helps with this do you?

  • No I don't but I've often wondered that myself. You would probably have to get a study into the components of saliva and their interaction with insect substances to really find out. If only I had the energy to be a scientist!😉

  • If I find the time I'll have a look and let you know if I read anything of relevance.

  • Thanks Paul. It would be of interest to me.

  • Hi 1985mum,

    Apparently there have been many personal experiences documented where people have experienced relief from itching of mosquito bites on the application of their own saliva to the itchy spot. It supposedly helps to reduce the itching because saliva has been proven to speed up tissue repair and has antibacterial properties. It also provides a moisturising effect on the itchy spot. Salt is also known to provide relief to itching and the slight salt content of saliva helps in that respect too.

    However, it is not advised to use saliva on an open wound from a bite as it could potentially lead to infection.

  • Very interesting. Thank you for looking into it, Paul.

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