By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)– Welcome to summer , mosquito season is here. Health officials are concerned about the potential for the Zika virus spreading with bug bites.

They recommend using insect repellent that contains deet, it’s the best way to prevent getting mosquito bites.

But it can be difficult to avoid the pesky bugs if you’re outside a lot.

“Really the worst thing you can do is scratch a mosquito bite,” said Dr. Melissa Piliang, who’s an infectious disease expert. “When the mosquito bites, it releases histamine. Histamine causes itching. The more you scratch, the more histamine that gets released, the more it itches.”

Instead of scratching, doctors recommend putting hydrocortisone on the bite.  It can help kill the itch and will also help it heal faster.

Chamomile lotion can also relieve itching.

Doctors say other remedies like alcohol, witch hazel and even toothpaste can dry out your skin and make it itch even more.

“A good alternative is to grab a piece of ice and put it right on that itchy bite,” said Piliang. “Ice kills itch. And, you know, if you’re at the pool, you probably have a cooler with ice in it or a cold drink you can put right on there and that will really kill that itch.”

The potential danger with scratching too much is you can break thru the skin, upping the risk for an infection.


Stephanie Stahl