The summer months are for time spent outside, in the pool, and at the beach. However, with all this exposure to nature, you’re more likely to be bitten by an insect. Here are some tips on how to keep safe and what to do if you are bitten.
• Pest – fire ants
o What to do – If you are bitten by fire ants, the first thing to do is to brush them off and check all over for any additional ants that may be hiding in your clothes or shoes. To treat the bites, wash the affected area with soap and water and apply hydrocortisone cream. If you have essential oils in the house, use Purification or Purify directly to your skin several times over the next few hours to help relieve the sting, then use Lavender to soothe. Putting ice on it may help as well. The bite mark will be a small red, swollen bump with a white blister on top. Try not to scratch them as it may become infected and last longer. If you experience difficulty breathing, severe swelling or nausea, seek immediate medical treatment.
o How to avoid them – Fire ants make large mounds in the dirt that stick up above the grass. Use caution any time you walk in grass and never go outside barefoot. Apply a fire ant prevention product to your yard and spot treat any visible mounds. New nests may not be visible above the grass, so always keep a lookout.
• Pest – mosquitoes
o What to do – If a mosquito gets you, you’ll likely get a red, itchy bump pretty quickly after the bite happens. If you don’t have an antihistamine cream on hand, try a damp green tea bag – hold it to the bite for a few minutes and let the tea naturally reduce the swelling while the cool soothes the itch. Of course, try not to scratch as you don’t want to break the skin which could lead to infection.
o How to avoid them – With all the known diseases that mosquitoes carry, like the scary Zika virus, you’ll want to take the following steps to reduce your risk of being bitten. Drain flower pots of any standing water and check for puddles in your landscaping. Use bug spray when out and about, especially if you’re pregnant, and particularly in the evening when mosquitoes are most active. Despite the heat, wearing long sleeves and long pants are an effective preventative measure, as are avoiding sweet-smelling lotions and perfumes.
• Pest – bees
o What to do – While technically not a bite, a sting from a yellow jacket or honey bee can be very painful and potentially dangerous depending on any allergies you may have. Approximately 5% of people are allergic to honey bee stings and reactions may vary, the most severe requiring an Epi Pen injection. If you are stung and notice a dry cough, severe swelling of the skin around the sting site, and/or difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention. For most of us, though, a cold compress and some Tylenol will do the trick.
o How to avoid them – As with mosquitoes, avoid wearing sweet-smelling lotions and perfumes as well as large floral print clothes. Look for bee hives in trees and on the ground in areas where you will be spending time. Bees are attracted to sweets like fruit, candy and sodas so keep a lid on your food and drinks. If a bee lands on you or you find yourself in an area with lots of bees flying around, remain calm and try to stay still – this will keep the bees calm and they will likely fly away.