These ‘Magic Patches’ Use Science to Stop Mosquito Bites From Itching in Seconds, and They’re So Safe for Kids
by Sabrina Rojas Weiss
Image Credits: Helena Lopes/Pexels
We tested itch-relief stickers from Buzzpatch, and they’re better than any cream.
Mosquitos love me, and my son has most definitely inherited my sweet, sweet blood. Every summer, and well into the fall, I am horrified to find his arms and legs (and forehead and neck and, well, everything else) covered in mosquito bite welts, which then become scabs after he scratches at them. It’s one thing to suffer through all that itchiness yourself, but a whole ‘nother heart-rending ball game when you see your little ones go through it, too. I am always on the lookout for mosquito bite remedies for kids, and I jumped at the chance to review Buzzpatch’s Magic Patch itch relief patches.
The mosquito bite patches are cute, colorful stickers that look like a hashtag or a loosely woven net, and they’re available in circular and rectangular form. Other than some adhesive, they contain no chemicals, which makes us all wonder, how does the Buzzpatch Magic Patch work? Before I answer that, let’s back up a second and talk about mosquitos in general.
Why Bug Repellent Fails
The first course of action in easing my kid’s mosquito-bite discomfort is to use bug repellent—which I definitely do most of the time. I’m a firm believer in using DEET, according to pediatricians’ recommendations for kids over 2 months old, and use bug spray or lotion only on exposed skin, making sure we wash it off before bed.
Picaridin is another chemical repellent that’s safe for kids, as well as effective. And considering all the diseases mosquitos carry, this seems like another good time to trust science. Folks who still don’t like the sound of those chemicals, however, can also go for natural bug repellents that contain citronella and/or lavender oils, which temporarily mask your scent from hungry mosquitos.
But we don’t always remember to use bug spray of any kind. It seems silly to put it on in the morning for a quick walk to the park, for instance. And there are always times when a mosquito works her way into our home, attacking us when we least expect her to.
By the way, it is always a her.
“It is the female mosquitoes that bite, and there is some saliva that enters the skin while the mosquito is feasting on its blood meal,” Amy Kassouf, MD, dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, explained to Health. “This is the protein that causes the allergic reaction—and itching.”
Most people’s immune systems react to the proteins in mosquito saliva, and our skin releases histamines in response. When we scratch, that allergic reaction only gets worse, locking us in a cycle of itchiness.
How Mosquito Bite Remedies Work
Most of the mosquito bite remedies available for kids and adults calm that allergic reaction: Hydrocortisone cream is a mild steroid that reduces the immune system’s reaction to a bug bite, and calamine lotion soothes the skin. But as anyone who is a regular feast for mosquitos knows, no cream works 100 percent of the time, and it often wears or washes off, leaving you back at square one.
The Buzzpatch Magic Patch prevents that allergic reaction altogether by targeting that mosquito saliva. According to the brand, “Our grid-relief technology mechanically adjusts the skin to help our lymphatic system drain the saliva injected by mosquitoes which cause the itch.”
That is a fancy way of saying this little hashmark sticker makes the outer layer of the skin pucker in a way that drains away and dissipates irritating mosquito saliva, instead of leaving it pooled in one area to trigger an immune response.
Does the Buzzpatch Magic Patch Relieve Bug Bites?
Yes, indeed. The key is: You need to apply an itch-relief sticker before you scratch the mosquito bite because scratching brings on more histamines, and then all bets are off. My son, husband, and I all applied the patches to bites we got in our swampy front yard on a summer evening, and the results were amazing. Within a minute, the bites didn’t itch, and no swelling occurred. By the next morning, it looked like we’d just put silly stickers on our skin for no reason.
We also ignored the instructions and put patches on older bites that we’d already scratched, and the results were less satisfying. The bites still itched. But here’s one advantage that Magic Patches have over other over-the-counter anti-itch lotions and chemical-free home remedies, such as putting ice on a bite: Placing a sticker over your mosquito bite prevents you from scratching it, and these stickers stay put for days. Even kids will think twice about peeling off their stickers to get at that itch, and they won’t be able to do it in their sleep.
What’s more, the Buzzpatch Magic Patches come in a cute little plastic container that can easily fit in your pocket or a bag, ready for your next mosquito encounter.
So, yeah, we’d rather not get bitten by mosquitos at all, but now we won’t mind so much when we do.
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