Bug Bites Outside summer fun also generally means being exposed to bug bites. Whether you’re in the water, on a mountain trail, or in your backyard, the wildlife you encounter have ways of protecting themselves and their territory. Insects such as bees, ants, fleas, flies, mosquitoes, wasps, and arachnids may bite or sting. The initial contact of a bite may be painful. It’s often followed by an allergic reaction to the bit or sting on your skin through the insect’s mouth or stinger. Most bites and stings trigger nothing more than minor discomfort, but some encounters can be deadly, especially if you have severe allergies to the insect venom. Bug Bite Prevention Prevention is the best medicine, so knowing how to recognize and avoid biting and stinging animals or insects is the best way to stay safe. The animals you should recognize and understand depend very much on where you live or where you’re visiting. Different regions of the United States are home to many of these creatures. Some common prevention methods, specifically for bugs like the common mosquito, which are in full force right now include mosquito sprays such as Deet or OFF, but other methods such as citronella plants or candles can also help. The season you are in, such as summer, also matters. For example, mosquitoes, stinging bees, and wasps tend to come out in full force during the summer. Tips to Apply Repellent In order to be effective, when applying bug repellent make sure to follow the following directions:
- Apply repellent only to exposed skin or clothing (as directed on the product label). Never put it on under clothing.
- Use just enough to cover and only for as long as needed; heavier doses don’t work better and can increase risks.
- Don’t apply repellents over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin. When applying to your face, spray first on your hands, then rub in, avoiding your eyes and mouth, and using sparingly around ears.
- Don’t let young children apply. Instead, put it on your own hands, then rub it on. Limit use on children’s hands because they often put their hands in their eyes and mouths.
- Don’t use near food, and wash hands after application and before eating or drinking.
- At the end of the day, wash treated skin with soap and water, and wash treated clothing in a separate wash before wearing again.
- If you’re planning to use repellents on your clothes, note that most of the ones we tested damaged leather and vinyl, and some of them stained synthetic fabrics. Wash repellent off your skin and launder treated clothes.