Ah, sweet summertime! School is out, the days are long and the cookouts are plentiful.
Unfortunately, so are the bugs.
It only takes one sting from a curious bumblebee to sour a great day in the sun. The same goes for that horde of mosquitos that always find your legs or the sweat bees that can’t seem to leave your damp hairline alone.
Whether you’re one or 100, bug bites are the worst.
That’s why today, we’re sharing a few of our favorite ways to prevent them, along with some go-to treatment methods that can take the pain and itch away.
Ready to learn more? Let’s get going!
1. Mandate Insect Repellent
Yes, it can smell a little awful, even if lemongrass masks the scent.
Still, insect repellent is a must-have if you plan to spend any time outdoors this summer. The catch? While those natural, holistic remedies may work in some cases, it’s best to stick to a solution that carries the EPA stamp of approval.
At the store, look for any or all of the following ingredients on the repellent label:
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-Menthane-Diol (PMD)
To make it easier, the EPA put together a list of its approved bug sprays. Go here to find the one that’s best for you and your family. Remember to always apply sunscreen first, followed by your repellent.
2. Wear Long Sleeves and Pants
It isn’t ideal, especially in sweltering temperatures, but go ahead and swap your skimpy tank tops and short shorts for long sleeves and pants. To up the comfort level, stick to lightweight and light-colored fabrics that will wick away sweat and keep you as cool as possible.
This provides a physical barrier to the bugs and helps keep the bigger ones at bay. Keep in mind, however, that there are some smaller bugs, such as tsetse flies, that can bite through the thinnest fabric.
3. Treat Gear with Permethrin
Let us be clear from the beginning: You should never apply permethrin to your skin. This is a powerful insecticide that works well as a defense against ticks, mosquitos and other biting insects.
Though it’s not meant for your epidermis, you may see it listed as the main chemical in some shampoos meant to combat head lice. However, its main use is as a material treatment.
Buy pre-treated materials such as tents, clothing, and boots that come with a thin layer of permethrin already applied. Or, purchase a 0.5% solution and coat your gear yourself before heading outdoors.
4. Keep a Clear and Cool Bedroom
Anyone who’s ever gone to bed with clear skin and woke up to itchy welts knows that the nighttime is an ideal time for bugs to find a snack.
That said, pump the AC in your bedroom if you can, or use window screens without holes, as even the smallest opening is a welcome sign for critters of all kinds.
On vacation at a tropical oasis and dream of sleeping with the windows open and the breeze blowing in? Think of how a swarm of gnats or other creepy crawlies could ruin that idyllic scene.
At the very least, invest in a permethrin-treated bed net that you can slip under your mattress. This is a cost-effective way to safeguard your slumber and freshen up your bedroom. If you do think that a bug of any kind has infiltrated your bedroom, take a good look around.
Mosquitos and other flying insects tend to congregate near light sources, so check your bulbs and lanterns. You may find gnats and fruit flies around produce sitting on the counter. Bed bugs leave rusty or red-colored stains on your sheets along with tiny, eggshell-colored skins.
If it’s the latter that’s keeping you up at night, contact a professional resource, such as the one found at https://www.custombedbug.com/ for expert relief.
Treating Bug Bites the Right Way
Different types of bug bites wreak different kinds of havoc. Some leave you with nothing but a few red dots and a week of itching. Others can cause intense pain or even require hospitalization.
If your bite is painful and causing the affected area to swell, take an over-the-counter pain reliever as soon as possible. Top choices include acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Be sure to follow the label instructions for the proper dosage amount.
While you’re at the pharmacy, pick up some hydrocortisone anti-itch cream, as well as an oral antihistamine. These can be powerful enemies to a scratchy bite that won’t quit. You can also try an ice pack to offer similar relief.
When to See a Doctor
If your pain or itch medications aren’t working to treat your bites, take notice of your physical symptoms. If you experience any of the following, contact your general physician or a board-certified dermatologist immediately:
- Body aches
Explain the circumstances of your bite to your doctor. He can check you for any transmittable diseases, which are far more serious and require immediate medical attention.
Your Ticket to Enjoying a Bite-Free Summer
Try as you might to avoid them, insects and summer go hand-in-hand. Still, you aren’t sentenced to three months of aggravation every season.
When you know the simple steps to take to avoid bug bites, you can keep them at bay while still partaking in the picnics and play times you enjoy. In the event that one does find your shoulder particularly tasty, there are quick fixes that can put you back in the action in no time.
Want more advice on how to live well, work smart and enjoy life? We’ve got it all on our blog, so keep reading and learning!