We look forward to outdoor activities during summer. However, we should be aware of an important health hazard – bug bites. (Please read my earlier post on bug bites from April 21, 2017). Tick and mosquito bites are capable of transmitting serious diseases such as Lyme disease, Relapsing fever, Spotted fevers, La crosse encephalitis, West Nile fever, Zika virus and more. Here are some useful tips to having safe summer fun.
Prevent tick bites
– Wear light-colored (which helps to spot ticks easily) long sleeves and pants in bushy or wooded areas. Wear closed-toe shoes. Button long sleeves and tuck pants into shoes.
-Apply an insect repellent with a 20% or higher concentration of DEET on skin and one that contains permethrin on clothing and gear. You can buy pre-treated clothes. Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
– Always conduct a full-body tick check after coming in from a wooded or bushy area. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors. Then do a full-body tick check with a handheld or full-length mirror. Parents should check their children for ticks in their hair, in and around the ears, under the arms, behind the knees, between the legs, and around the waist. It is best to tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.
-Keep your grass cut. Ticks prefer to hide in tall grass.
-Remember to check your pets for ticks if they have been outside. They can transfer ticks to family members.
Prevent mosquito bites
-Eliminate areas for mosquito breeding such as birdbaths, flowerpots,and baby pools. Mosquitoes can breed even in half an inch of standing water.
– Avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk which are peak activity time for mosquitoes.
– Avoid wearing dark, bright and floral prints.
– Avoid wearing sweet-smelling lotions, perfumes and colognes, which could also attract mosquitoes to you.
– Manage your surroundings by screening windows and doors. Keep your car windows closed.
-When outdoors, use area repellents (such as mosquito coils) containing metofluthrin or allethrin.
Have a safe and great summer!