Pesky, six-legged critters can sure put a damper on summer activities. So when it comes to insects like mosquitoes, ticks and fleas, it’s important to know the facts about their habitat and how to reduce the risk of their biting behaviors.
If you’re outside and near nature, you’ll likely encounter breeding grounds for these pests.
“Watch for these areas when out and about: piles of brush and/or leaves, free standing water, tall grasses, heavily wooded areas, damp wood piles and rodents,” said Mercy nurse practitioner Lynieta Leisure. “If those types of debris are lurking in your yard, clean it up.”
When enjoying the great outdoors take into account a few tips to limit your exposure biting bugs.
Leisure recommends, “First, treat your lawn with human and animal-safe insect repellant. Insure your domestic animals have regular flea treatments and avoid allowing them to sleep in your bed. Avoid the breeding grounds mentioned earlier.
Second, if you’re out in potential areas, plan to wear properly fitted light colored clothing or permethrin treated clothing. Apply insect repellant with DEET to exposed skin. Visually inspect your skin after potential exposure especially the belly button, under arms, waist, hairline, and behind the knees and shower after potential exposure.”
In the unfortunate event you are bit, Leisure suggests the following treatment:
Tick bites – Remove the tick with tweezers close to skin by pulling it straight out. Wash the wound with antibacterial soap and pat dry. Use Benadryl or hydrocortisone cream as needed for reduce itching/swelling. Monitor yourself for illness, fever and rash for up to a week after the bite and report to any symptoms of illness to a health care provider.
Mosquitoes and fleas – It might seem impossible, but don’t scratch! Scratching will transmit bacteria and the bite area will get infected. Trim your fingernails short. Over-the-counter creams, ointments, and antihistamines will help alleviate the urge to scratch. Watch for signs of infection at the bite site and if an infection appears, see a medical provider.
A little knowledge and prevention can go a long way in keeping you and your family out of the doctor’s office following a holiday weekend with family and friends.