(Photo by Photo by Mariana Ibanez on Unsplash

It has happened to us all. We are enjoying the summer weather in short sleeves and shorts, and, before we know it, we have been targeted and bitten by a bug.

Insect bites in Britain are mostly harmless, but they do sting and nip.

While we may not notice a bite at first, the lumps under our skin a few hours later are a tell-tale sign we have provided a take-away for a flying assailant.

Creams and ointments can help, but did you know that there are natural items around at home that could help soothe the itching?

Here are our top four tips for taking the sting out of summer just in case the pharmacy has closed.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a powerful antibacterial plant which has been shown to calm infections and even help minor wounds heal. It is a great natural choice for soothing insect bites. Organic aloe vera gels have the same effect on the irritation. It will also help prevent infection due to its antiseptic properties. For best results, apply to clean dry skin and allow it to dry. Apply again as required.

Honey

A huge favourite with homeopathy fans, honey has antibacterial properties and has been mentioned by Greek philosopher Aristotle as “good for sore eyes and wounds” as early as 350BC.

Studies have shown that natural Manuka honey can boost healing time and reduce infection. It is worth noting that medicinal grade honey used in hospitals is not the same as honey sold in shops.

Chamomile Tea

The chamomile plant is the same family as the daisy and is considered a common natural remedy and anti-inflammatory. If you keep a spent teabag in the fridge in a small plastic bag you can use it as a compress for a natural way to reduce the itch and inflammation from a bite. Always make sure you squeeze out excess water before you apply it directly to the affected area.

Oatmeal

It may sound strange to use your favourite breakfast oat to heal an itch, but this can even be made into a soothing bath if you have a lot of bites. To make the healing paste mix equal parts water and ground oatmeal. Spoon some on to a face cloth and place it on the bite for ten minutes. Alternatively add a cup of oatmeal to a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes, gently rubbing the itchy spot with the mixture.

Grape Tree Tip

Keep your aloe vera gel in the fridge for that extra cooling effect ready for when the bugs bite.

DON’T FORGET if you have an insect bite and develop swollen face or mouth, difficulty breathing call NHS 111 or contact a doctor immediately.