Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Itch Away! Mosquitoes, Black flies, Bees and the like...

In my last post (a moon or two ago) I had been knee deep in planning a summer homeopathy immersion course. Due to low enrollment, I cancelled the course but- lucky you! I decided to put the information out there anyway and so make sure you sign up over there to the right and get your weekly dose of homeopathic education delivered right to your inbox. For free!

So this week- bites and stings, oh my.

Depending on where you live, what activities you engage in, and what your personal response to insect bites is, you might be thinking 'meh' or 'yeah! tell me about what I can do for those!' I mean, do we need to be hauling out the remedy kit for a constellation of mosquito bites on our kids' arms and legs? Maybe not. In the range of responses, there are minimal- some folks are just blessed, I guess- to large welts and ceaseless itching leading to scabs, bleeding and scars. I had scars from mosquito bites on my legs for *years.* I couldn't leave those suckers alone.

And I'm not a sensationalist by any means, but let's not forget that insects are vectors. From the current spotlight on ticks and Lyme disease (and a host of other co-infections that can develop alongside or as a sequelae), malaria, yellow fever (from the days of old), and West Nile virus. To name a few. (And homeopathic doctors had pretty stellar records for treating yellow fever in the US and it is used effectively for malaria symptoms today in places where it is a problem.)

So, it's good to know a few remedies for insect bites. Giving a remedy to help the body respond to a BITE- breaking across the barrier of the skin- is good support for the vital force and assists it in keeping the boundaries clear between THIS IS ME and THAT- whatever bacteria/virus/proteins/chooseyourmicrobiology- IS NOT. Self-identification is one of the primary roles of the immune system.

I'll cover the usual suspects here that are typically recommended, and their differentials. I will say that consistent constitutional treatment will influence the body's reaction to bug bites over time. That is, the reaction will be more mild, less swelling, itching. We have all noticed this in my family, and at least two of us are those 'mosquito magnet' types.

Ledum is always the go-to. Even if you end up following up with another, it isn't so much that it is specific for itching but it is specific for puncture wounds (think the hypodermic stinger) and bites, as well as swelling. A few doses of ledum will often do the trick and you'll just forget about the bites. The specific indications for ledum are: swelling and better cold. The bite sight itself can even feel cold, or else is temperature neutral. If you have ever felt a bite that is inflamed and hot to the touch, then you'll know the difference. Ledum is also the primo remedy for tick bites.

Apis mellifica: a homeopathic preparation of the venom of the honeybee, Apis is one that many might think of for a bee sting. But Apis has some very specific indications and if those symptoms aren't present, then go with ledum first, or consider a different remedy. Indications are: inflammation, profuse swelling, red, hot, WORSE HEAT, skin can look shiny and smooth.

Cantharis: from the Spanish fly. Also a remedy to consider for burns, the sensation of burning and stinging pain is prominent for the person who needs cantharis for their bites. I would think cantharis to be good for those bites that come in groups- gnats, no-see-ums, ants, and the like. The bites will be swollen and red and again, a painful burning.

Sulphur: it's kind of a catch-all, but particularly for kids, if the bites are keeping them up at night, they're red and scratching away, a few doses of sulphur can bring some relief. Particularly if they are the kind of headstrong kids who fight the evening bath, the itching starts up as soon as they get in bed and they prefer cold to hot.

Urtica urens: from the stinging nettle- so you can imagine. Burning, itching. There may be red blotches- like the bite has spread. The swelling may not be marked, more the sensation and the itching is WORSE from exercise and warmth. BETTER lying down and rubbing, vs. itching.

Also consider throwing a tube of Sting Stop by Boericke and Tafel, which is a topical homeopathic combination cream, into your bag, car, etc... I am not a big proponent of the combination remedies, but for some quick, no-thinking relief, it's a good bet.

You can pick up all of the above remedies at health/natural food stores that carry homeopathic remedies. Get a 30c potency, and start with two doses within an hour (one dose= 2 pellets) and then re-dose as needed every hour or two. As your symptoms get better- wait and only re-dose when they return. If you don't sense any shift in your symptoms after at least three doses, then try a different remedy.

For ledum and tick bites if the tick was not engorged, take the two doses within an hour and then wait. If the tick *was* engorged, take two doses per day, for three days. Watch for any symptoms and contact your care provider if you come down with a fever, chills, and body aches.

Staying in the vein of skin conditions, next post will be on hives. All out in the open, with nary a cause in sight!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the insight you provide to the readers about Alternative homeopathy.

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