Spring has sprung. That means everyone will be outside enjoying the beautiful weather. It also means that insects are more likely to bite or sting you and your children. So let’s discuss some ways to help prevent bug bites and what to do if they bite.

 Which Insects Should Concern Me?

Two insects everyone wants to avoid are mosquitoes and ticks; both are potential health hazards: 

Mosquitoes

Except for a bit of buzzing, you may not even notice a mosquito has bitten you until the itching begins. While the initial bite is irritating, the diseases mosquitoes carry are most concerning.

Mosquitoes carry blood-borne diseases, such as the West Nile virus, malaria, and more recently, the Zika virus. The symptoms of these diseases can sometimes be quite mild, but at other times, they can be life-threatening.

The easiest way to prevent mosquitoes in your own yard is to ensure that there is no standing water on your property. This will keep the insects from breeding. Screened areas will help keep these pesky insects at bay.

Ticks

A person is most likely to pick up ticks in wooded areas or high grasses. Although the risk of contracting a disease from tick bite isn’t very high, the diseases they carry are frightening. Ticks can carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and some bacterial infections.

The good news is that ticks must remain attached for 24 hours or more before they can transmit a disease. As long as you find ticks quickly, the risk of contracting these diseases is quite low.

Taking some simple actions can help prevent tick bites – wearing long-sleeve shirts, hats, and pants tucked into your socks or boots. These tactics can go a long way in preventing ticks from attaching to you.

If you notice a tick on you or your child, use tweezers to pull it off. Do this very slowly and get as close to the head of the tick with your tweezers as possible.

Never twist a tick or use bare hands to try to remove this insect. Never try to burn a tick with a lighter or match, and don’t apply petroleum jelly to try to get the tick to release. These are not safe ways to remove ticks.

 

Hopefully you can use these tips to protect yourself and your family while you enjoy the outdoors. Check with your child’s Pediatrician to find out what effective insect repellents they recommend for your child’s age.

If you have any more questions about bug bites or what you can do to help prevent them, contact your doctor for further information.