Summertime is in full swing and the bugs are out in swarms as well. They irritate us and make us itch, but there are some ways to avoid them and/or treat their bites.
Mosquitos move quickly and are probably the hardest to avoid. However, there are bug deterrents that you can use to keep pests away. The most popular types are sprays that contain deet, picaridin, citronella, lemongrass, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 years. If using deet, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that a concentration of 30% or less is safe to use on infants and children ages 2 months and older if used correctly. All products should be applied to exposed skin and on clothing, making sure to avoid the mouth and eyes. To apply it to their face, spray it on your hands first and rub it on their face. Be sure to apply it in an open area so you do not breathe it in as you apply it. They only need to be applied once daily so try to avoid combination sprays. If you need both sun and bug protection you can apply the combination for the first application but then use just sunscreen for later protection from the sun. Be sure to wash your child’s clothes and skin with soap and water when you are done outside.
Chiggars are a little harder to avoid because they are so small. They are most active in late spring, summer, and early fall. As you walk through your yard they are able to latch on to your clothing where they crawl until they find skin and have a little meal leaving an itchy red spot. If you do happen to see them on you take a shower and scrub with soap to wash them away. Just don’t forget to wash any other clothes or blankets you used that day too. Treat any bites with anti-itch cream.
Ticks, while easier to spot than chiggars, also like to hang out in wooded areas and areas with tall grass. They also tend to climb from your clothing to you skin and they attach to you for a meal. If you find a tick on you use a pair of tweezers to remove it. Save the tick in a bag in case you need to identify it later. Talk to you doctor if you develop symptoms that you think are related to the bite since ticks, like mosquitos, can spread several diseases.
In the end, avoidance is best when possible. Wearing light colored clothing, long pants and shirts, applying deet containing products, and avoiding being outside during evening hours will all help to prevent exposure. Also removing any standing water from your yard and keeping your grass mowed will make it harder for them to get to you.