Painful and itchy bug bites are more than just annoying. They can also spread diseases and get infected. Protect yourself and your children with these tips!
Eight tips to prevent bug bites this summer:
- Read the ingredients. According to Consumer Reports, deet, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) have the best protection power. Choose products with at least 20 percent of these ingredients. Note: Citronella candles, traps and bracelets have little-to-no effect keeping mosquitoes away according to this study.
- Use bug spray the right way. Apply sunscreen before you use bug spray. Spray on top of clothing and exposed skin. Don’t spray cuts, rashes or wounds. To apply repellant to the face, spray your hands and then rub onto your face. Do not rub on or close to your eyes or mouth.
- Cover up. Wear loose-fitting clothes, long sleeves, shirts that cover your stomach and lower back, shoes and socks that cover your feet, and light colors.
- Avoid fragrances. Perfume or strong-scented soaps, shampoos or lotions can attract bugs.
- Sit by the fan. Oscillating fans (ones that turn side-to-side) keep bugs at bay.
- Stay away from tall grass. If walking outdoors or hiking, stay in the center of marked paths; don’t walk through leaf piles, untrimmed grass, bushes or weeds, and avoid brushing or touching dangling branches and leaves.
- Dump standing water. Check buckets, potted plants, clogged gutters, dripping garden hoses and bird baths.
- Get rid of debris. Remove leaf piles, rotting wood or other old things from your yard where bugs could live.
Bugs to watch out for:
|Most mosquitoes come out around sunset and sunrise. But you can still get bit at other times. Mosquitos can carry many diseases, including dengue, Zika, malaria and more.
|Ticks often perch on plants and wait for you to pass by. Certain ticks can carry Lyme disease.
|Chiggers are tiny, red mites. They’re so small that they’re almost impossible to see. They are mostly found in tall grass and weeds.
|Fire ants are named for their red-copper-black color and the burning pain from their stings.
|Certain flies will bite animals and people to feed on blood. Deer flies have been known to carry diseases in the U.S.
|Fleas are often carried inside by pets and animals. Those same fleas can bite humans, too. If you have pets, get them regular flea treatments at the vet and check them for fleas often.
Everyone forgets to use bug spray sometimes …
When you should visit your doctor for an insect bite:
- Fever, swollen glands and/or flu symptoms
- A large red wheel that appears to circle around the bite (looks like a target or halo)
- If you have multiple bites affecting a large area
- Pus inside the bite(s)
- If you’re concerned about other symptoms or are generally feeling sick
If you show signs of an allergic reaction (multiple hives, body parts swelling such as your face, tongue or lips, trouble breathing, etc.) call 911 or go to the ER right away.
Want to learn more? See the below Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sites: