Outdoor activities are frequent during the summer months, but with that comes increased exposure to pesky insect bites. Ticks, mosquitos, and bees are commonly seen during this time of the year. While mosquito bites and bee stings are often easy to recognize and treat, the symptoms of Lyme disease caused by tick bites may not be as obvious.
- Tick bites: avoid wooded areas or areas with high brush, use insect repellant with 20% or more of DEET, and wear long pants and long sleeves when in areas that may be infested with ticks.
- Mosquito bites: apply an insect repellant that contains either DEET, picaridin, IR3535, OLE, PMD, or 2-undecanone, wear long sleeves and long pants, and utilize screens in windows to prevent insects from entering the house.
- Bee stings: avoid perfumed shampoos, deodorant, and soaps, wear light colored clothing, take caution with sugary beverages when outside, and keep calm if a single bee is flying around you as swatting may facilitate a sting.
Tip: If you are using both sunscreen and bug spray, apply sunscreen first, allow it to dry, and then apply insect repellant.
HOW TO TREAT:
- Tick bites: remove the tick with tweezers grasping it firmly and as close to the body as possible, clean the area with soap and water, watch for signs and symptoms of Lyme disease (see below) and seek medical attention if they occur or if a bull’s-eye rash develops.
- Mosquito bites: calamine lotion or hydrocortisone can ease the itching, a cold compress can soothe the area, and oral antihistamines, such as Benadryl, can help with stronger reactions.
- Bee stings: remove the stinger (do not squeeze the area), wash the area with soap and water, apply a cold compress, take a pain reliever (such as ibuprofen) if needed, and seek medical attention if an allergic reaction occurs such as swelling in the area or near the lips/face, trouble breathing or wheezing.
SYMPTOMS OF LYME DISEASE:
- Aches or pains such as headache, fatigue, and muscle aches
- Bull’s-eye rash (may not appear at the site of the bite and can develop days after the bite has occurred)
If you develop these signs and symptoms or suspect you were exposed to a tick bite, please seek medical attention as soon as possible.
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