Gnats might look similar to mosquitoes but they’re actually very different. Gnats are comparatively smaller in size and seeing them flying around your yard or garden is quite often too.
Getting gnat bites is very common. Gnat bites have reactions too, but there are various treatment options to treat these gnat bites. In this article, we will be discussing all the preventive measures and treatments to get rid of gnat bites.
What are gnat and gnat bites?
Gnats are small blood-sucking flies comparatively smaller than mosquitoes about ¼ inches long.
Gnats may be called with many names depending upon their species such as midges, no-see-ums, punkies, black flies, moose flies, buffalo flies, etc. These gnats irrespective of their gender (both male and female) feed on the plant nectar. Some of the female gnats also bite poultry pets, humans, or mammals because they require a blood meal to make their eggs.
How does a gnat bite?
The gnats have a scissor-like structure of their mouth that they use to cut the skin. They slowly insert their saliva into the skin. The gnats saliva contains substances known as anticoagulants. These anticoagulants help in thinning the blood that makes it easier to digest.
What does a gnat bite look like?
Gnat bites look very similar to mosquito bites. Due to their saliva people experience minor allergic reactions. These bites cause bumps in the skin that are – small, red, painful, itchy, and swollen.
Some people might also experience bleeding around the affected area or the red bumps have fluids filled inside them called blisters.
How to treat gnat bites?
Well now that you know that gnat bites are quite common, you must know that you can also treat them easily at home if they are minor. You can follow a few remedies and you will notice that the symptoms get better within the next few days.
The most effective way to treat gnat bites are as follows-
The soap and water solution-
This is the most effective way to treat gnat bites or any other mosquito bite. All you need to do is gently wash the affected area with cold water and mild soap. This soap solution not only cleans the area and soothes the skin but also relieves irritation.
Once you wash the area with a mild soap solution you can pat dry it carefully but make sure to be gentle with your skin as rubbing the swollen area may worsen your condition.
Cold compress the affected area-
Using the cold compress method can help with swelling, itchiness, and irritation.
All you need to do is take an ice pack wrapped in a moist soft towel and apply it to the swollen area. You can also take a cloth or any other soft towel and soak it in cold water if you don’t have ice at home.
If you don’t want to use a cloth you can also go for a plastic bag filled with ice cubes. You can also try using a frozen bag filled with vegetables and wrap the bag with a moist cloth and gently apply on the bitten area.
Use anti-itch creams/moisturizers-
If you feel that the infection has increased and you don’t feel any relief in the symptoms, then you can always opt for an anti-itch cream. These creams help relieve itching in a short time. All you need to do is apply a thin layer of the cream to the affected area and you will notice an improvement in your condition within 24 hours. It might take a few days too if the infection is severe.
Since these screens contain corticosteroids and hydrocortisone they are very effective in reducing irritation and redness caused by gnat bites. In case of minor skin irritations, you can go for the calamine lotion which is easily available without prescription and is budget-friendly too. Both the above creams are very effective but, always keep in mind to read the directions before using and consult a doctor in case of severe conditions.
Antihistamines are very effective in treating all sorts of allergic reactions, especially the ones caused by insect bites. They help in reducing itchiness, redness, and irritation.
Antihistamines are also available without prescription but make sure to read the instructions mentioned on the packaging.
How to prevent gnat bites?
Although you can not prevent gnat bites completely, you can follow some easy preventive steps to reduce the risk –
- Avoid being around water as such species are generally found near marshes, ponds, swamps, lakes, and streams. If you love being around water then limit your time.
- Cover your exposed skin- If your entire body is open and exposed it gives a vast area for the insect to bite, so try wearing long-sleeved t-shirts and pants so that most of the body parts are covered.
- Apply insect repellent – As we all know that sunscreen is very important for your body to protect itself from the harmful UV rays of the sun but it is equally important to apply an insect repellent containing DEET to all the exposed areas of a body. If you are a person who only uses natural products on the skin then you can go for a natural alternative like lemon eucalyptus or oil.
- Avoid using strong scents and perfumes- Strong fragrances such as scents, shampoos, or perfumes can attract these insects so it is better to avoid using products with strong odors.
- Wear light-colored clothes- Bright and dark clothing can attract gnats so it is recommended to wear light colors. But avoid wearing blue outfits as it may create an illusion of water and attract insects.
These were a few steps on how to prevent gnat bites. If you are scared of the after-effects of this insect bite and wondering how long do gnat bites last? Then it may depend upon how severely you react to them. Sometimes they last for 2-3 days and sometimes it can take a week. However, you can follow the above steps to treat gnat bites and protect yourself.
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