As the weather gets warmer and summer’s official start is only weeks away, the outdoor season is in full swing. For many of us, this means ventures into the great outdoors. People get back to hiking, boating, and camping most weekends. We don’t enjoy the uninvited guests that crash our backyard BBQs and time outside. Bugs like mosquitos, fleas, ticks, and even some flies can be annoying. Their bites are painful and itchy but they can also be dangerous. These insects can carry diseases like Zika, Dengue, and Lyme disease. The easiest way to avoid these diseases is to prevent being bitten.
When and where you are most likely to get bitten depends on the type of insect and where you live. While dodging these insects can be tough, protecting yourself is simple. Clothing that covers most of your body is an easy way to shield yourself. Fabrics that are tightly woven, such as athletic apparel, can prevent bites better than fabrics like linen and cotton. Long sleeved shirts tucked into your pants and long pants tucked into your socks can prevent insects from crawling up and biting your legs or abdomen. Since this isn’t always practical when the temperature climbs or when you’re swimming and boating, another alternative is insect repellant. The CDC recommends an EPA-registered spray that contains at a minimum, 20% DEET. This will protect from most insects. Some natural repellants and ones non- registered with the EPA will only protect from mosquitos or may not effectively protect at all. Spray all exposed skin. If you are adventuring outdoors with your kids, it’s recommended that they also cover up and use insect repellant. Just make sure that they have an adult applies the repellant and check the packaging to confirm that it’s suitable for the child’s age. Pregnant women should take extra precautions since some insect carried diseases can be transferred to the unborn baby.
Another avoidance tactic worth mentioning is to stay indoors during dusk and dawn. This is a common time for mosquitos to come out and feed. Mosquitos have a hard time flying in the wind and since wind typically disperses a bit during this time, the insects come out in droves. Simply staying insides during these times can significantly lesson your exposure to mosquitos. However, this does not apply to all insects so it’s important to still protect yourself.
If you do get a bite, don’t worry. Most bites are harmless, albeit annoying. If you experience any flu like symptoms or severe reactions, contact your doctors immediately.
So, get out there and enjoy your summer, hopefully pest free!