How to stay bite free this summer
As the weather gets warmer, we are eager to spend more time outside. Be warned, it is not just you or I that enjoy the heat. Insects are back and they can be a serious buzz-kill.
Identifying bites and stings
If you don’t see an insect bite or sting you, how will you know the best way to treat it? Follow these simple tips on how to identify bites and stings:
- Bees stings can cause immediate swelling, redness, and pain. You may notice a stinger or indentation in the middle of the swelling.
- Fire ant bites immediately burn and cause pain. You may notice cloudy fluid around the swollen area. If your child has dozens of fire ant bites, he may need to see a doctor.
- Mosquito bites may not cause immediate problems but will become red, swollen, and itchy later.
- You may not notice spider bites at first. However, if you experience a painful, red area filled with fluid and surrounded by a red or purple ring (like a target), you should get it checked out at one of our Urgent Care clinics.
- Ticks are often still attached to the area they have bitten and can be hidden in hair or on the skin. Use tweezers to grasp the tick by the head and slowly it off. Keep the tick in case it needs to be tested for diseases. If the tick is not still attached, you may notice a large red bump.
- Wasps may leave a stinger or indentation behind. Their stings also cause immediate pain and swelling.
Preventing insect bites
Cover up – You should try to avoid bright colors and flower patterns. Wear clothing that covers your body such as long-sleeve shirts and long pants. Always wear shoes when you are going outside. You want to cover your arms, legs, and feet as much as possible.
Use insect repellent – When exploring the great outdoors, make sure to use the proper insect repellent. When using repellents make sure to apply them safely, avoid putting it on your hands, especially the hands of children, use the proper repellant for the bugs you may experience, apply repellent after sunscreen and remove repellent with soap and water when you return home.
Avoid heavily-scented or sweet-smelling products – Heavily scented and sweet-smelling items can attract some insects to you.
Stay calm – Don’t swat at or run from some insects, like bees or wasps. This can irritate these insects and increase their chance of stinging you. Try to stay calm and move away slowly.
Treat your bites or stings – If you do get bitten or stung try, applying an ice pack for 10-15 minutes several times a day and take Benadryl for any itching. If you have questions or concerns, call your AFM office or stop by an AFM Urgent Care.
Avoiding insect-borne disease
Many insects like mosquitoes, ticks and fleas can carry diseases that can be harmful to both humans and animals Make sure to stay informed and refer to reputable resources, like the CDC or EPA, to make sure you know what to do if you suspect you have contracted an insect-borne disease.