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by Colleen Reisz, MD   August 7, 2023

How to prevent bug bites during the summer

Preventing bug bites during the summer is essential to avoid discomfort, itching, and the potential transmission of diseases carried by insects. Here are some effective strategies to keep those pesky bugs at bay:

  1. Use insect repellent: Apply an EPA-approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus (for ages 3 and above) on exposed skin and clothing. Follow the product instructions carefully, especially when using on children.
  2. Cover up: Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and closed-toe shoes when spending time outdoors. Tucking pants into socks can also help prevent ticks from crawling up your legs.
  3. Avoid peak mosquito activity: Mosquitoes are most active during dawn and dusk, so try to stay indoors during these times. If you must be outside, take extra precautions, such as using repellent and wearing protective clothing.
  4. Eliminate standing water: Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, so regularly empty and clean items like birdbaths, flower pots, and gutters. This helps reduce mosquito populations around your home.
  5. Use mosquito nets: When camping or sleeping outdoors, use mosquito nets around your sleeping area to provide an additional physical barrier against insects.
  6. Keep doors and windows screened: Install screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes and other flying insects outside while allowing airflow indoors.
  7. Avoid strong scents: Floral or sweet-smelling perfumes, lotions, and scented body products can attract insects. Opt for unscented or mild-scented products instead.
  8. Stay in well-lit areas: Insects are often drawn to dark corners and poorly lit areas, so staying in well-lit locations can reduce your risk of bites.
  9. Use fans: Mosquitoes are weak fliers, so using fans on porches or outdoor sitting areas can create enough airflow to keep them away.
  10. Avoid wearing bright colors: Insects, especially bees and wasps, are attracted to bright and floral patterns, so consider wearing light-colored and neutral clothing.
  11. Check for ticks: After spending time in wooded or grassy areas, thoroughly check your body, clothes, and pets for ticks. Promptly remove any ticks you find.
  12. Avoid attracting bugs with food: Keep food and drinks covered when outdoors to prevent attracting flies and other insects.

Remember, while these preventive measures can significantly reduce your risk of bug bites, they might not provide 100% protection. If you are in an area where insect-borne diseases are prevalent, consult with a healthcare professional for additional advice and precautions.

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