A super easy way to keep the bloodsuckers from spoiling your summer fun.

Summer is just getting started, and you can already feel the mood starting to change as people get ready for the season of fun, the season of passion…and the season of itchiness.

While Japan’s summertime heat and humidity may not be the preferred conditions for all people, they’re a paradise for insects, especially mosquitoes. Spend much time outside during June, July, or August, and you’ve got an approximately 100-percent chance of being bitten, followed by hours or even days of your brain screaming at you to scratch that itch right now, even though each time you give in to temptation means it’ll take that much longer for the bite to heal.

Ointments and creams often provide only seconds of relief, but Japanese Twitter user @yakkosan21 recently shared what he says is a speedy and all-natural way to eliminate the itchiness in only a minute or two.

His method is:
1. Take a small hand towel and make it wet, then warm it up in a microwave for 30 seconds.
2. Take the towel out of the microwave. It should be hot, but not so scalding that you can’t hold it in your hand.
3. Lightly dab a corner of the towel on the part of your skin where you were bitten.
4. After a few dabs, the towel, while still very warm, should be cool enough to place directly on the bitten area. Apply pressure.
5. If necessary, adjust the part of your towel that’s in contact with the afflicted area to keep it heated, while taking care not to apply so much heat as to cause burning.

And that’s pretty much all there is to it. As a matter of fact, @yakkosan21 says this not only gets rid of the itchiness, but also helps reduce swelling around the bite, so it’s a cosmetic tip too. “I remind people of this every summer,” he adds.

So what’s the science behind this? When a mosquito bites you, it leaves behind some of its saliva, which contains proteins and an anticoagulant. While they’re not necessarily poisons, your body doesn’t like these foreign substances, and the itchiness is a side effect of the reaction from your immune system. However, according to @yakkosan21, heat can neutralize those unwanted mosquito mementos, and thus prevent the itchiness, which is basically the same logic behind the hot spoon self-treatment for mosquito bites.

▼ And no, the hot spoon treatment isn’t just smacking mosquitoes with an eating utensil.

Of course, with a relatively subjective symptom like “itchiness,” there’s likely at least a bit of a placebo effect at play here. But if it works for @yakkosan21, it could work for you too, and if nothing else, a warm, moist towel should at least clean away any sweat and oil around the bite, which should also make the skin less itchy. So while we’re hoping that our magical anti-mosquito cosplay bracers keep us safe this summer, if any mosquitoes do get past that line of defense, we’ll be trying @yakkosan21’s plan.

Source: @yakkosan21 via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where even with the mosquitoes, he still loves summer in Japan.