Summer Bug Patrol
Did someone say pool party? Summer is the season of sun and fun! School is out, the weather is warm and there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy with friends and family. There’s just one pesky problem – bugs!
Summer’s hottest months bring out all types of insects: ticks, bees, wasps, spiders, and mosquitos. Most are simply irritating, but some insect bites can be dangerous.
Here are 6 tips to help keep your family bite and sting free this summer:
Go fragrance-free. Sweet-smelling scents are magnets for certain types of insects, so stick with fragrance-free soaps, shampoos and other products, and save the vanilla-scented lotion for cooler weather.
Wear neutral colors. Bright colors and patterns attract insects such as bees and hornets. Dress kids in earth tones or lighter colored clothing when they’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors.
Don’t go barefoot. Bug repellents prevent bites, but not stings from bees and wasps. Help your family avoid stings by having a shoes-on policy when walking on the lawn or in grassy areas, places where stinging insects hover.
Use bug repellents with DEET. The chemical DEET is used in many insect repellents, and in the right concentrations, can protect against insects for up to five hours. Look for repellents that contain 24 to 30 percent DEET, as higher concentrations exceed the recommendation of The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). And remember – never apply bug repellent to children under age 2.
Add protection in wooded areas. Mosquitoes and ticks live in the woods and in wet, grassy areas. If your child will spend time in wooded areas, dress him or her in long-sleeved clothing and always apply bug repellent to keep insects at bay. Also do daily tick checks – scanning your child’s hair and skin for pests.
Keep calm. If you or your child attracts a stinging insect, don’t panic. Jerky or sudden movements can provoke the bee or wasp and make it more aggressive. Instead, move away slowly and calmly until you are in the clear.
Most bug bites and stings are easily treated with an over-the-counter anti-itch cream or pain reliever. However, if you or your child experiences confusion, muscle or joint weakness, rash, an allergic reaction or flu-like symptoms within several days of being bitten, call your doctor. These could be indications of more serious illnesses.
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