As the weather gets warmer, we all start spending more time outdoors. And while enjoying the sunshine and fresh air is great for our health, we’re more exposed to biting bugs that thrive in this weather.
Bugs can be more than just an annoying nuisance. Some of them can carry diseases that can make us sick. And even if they’re not carrying diseases, their bites can be itchy and irritating.
So how can we enjoy the summer without getting bitten by bugs?
Use Insect Repellent
Probably the best way to prevent bugs from biting you is to use insect repellent. Repellents work by emitting a scent that bugs find repulsive. This helps to keep them away from you so they can’t bite you.
Find a repellent that contains DEET or a plant-based repellent containing PMD. Read and follow the directions on the label. Apply to any and all exposed skin as well as your clothing. Reapply every few hours or as directed on the label.
Wear Protective Clothing
If your clothing is too loose, bugs can bite through it and get to your skin. So it’s important to wear clothing covering your body as much as possible. Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and closed-toe shoes are all good choices.
Any holes or loose knitting in your clothing can also give bugs a way in. So make sure to repair or replace any damaged clothing before you wear it outdoors or wear multiple layers.
Beware of Local Outbreaks and Travel Warnings
Bugs can sometimes carry diseases that can be passed on to humans. These diseases can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, they can be deadly. So be aware of any local outbreaks or travel warnings that might be in effect.
If you’re traveling to an area where there’s an outbreak of a bug-borne disease, take extra precautions to avoid getting bitten. And if you start to feel sick after being in an area with a known outbreak, see a doctor immediately.
If You Do Get Bit…
Don’t scratch the bite if you get bitten or stung by a bug. Scratching can break the skin and make it more likely for an infection to develop.
Clean the bitten area thoroughly with soap and water, then apply a cool compress if you need to reduce swelling. You can also apply hydrocortisone cream or take an over-the-counter antihistamine to help with itching.
Aloe vera, either from a live plant or commercial lotion, can also aid the healing process.
See a doctor immediately if you start to feel sick or the bite starts to look unusual or infected.