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Bug Bites and Stings

Bug bites and stings introduction

Warm weather makes it easier to spend more time outdoors, but it also brings out the bugs. Ticks are usually harmless. But a tick bite can lead to Lyme disease, which is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. The bacteria are transmitted to people by the black-legged deer tick, which is about the size of a pinhead and usually lives on deer. Infected ticks can also cause other diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Another insect-borne illness, West Nile virus, is transmitted by infected mosquitoes and usually produces mild symptoms in healthy people. But the illness can be serious for older people and those with compromised immune systems.

Most reactions to bees and other stinging insects are mild, but severe allergic reactions can be deadly. An allergic reaction can occur even if a person has been stung before with no complications.

Here are tips for preventing and treating bites and stings.

What can I do to keep insects away?

  • Use structural barriers such as window screens and netting.
  • Avoid wooded, brushy, and grassy areas when possible.
  • Don't wear heavily scented soaps and perfumes.
  • Use caution eating outside and drinking; don't leave drinks and garbage cans uncovered.
  • Don't wear bright colors, which attract bees.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants when possible.
  • Tuck pant legs into socks or shoes.
  • Wear a hat for extra protection.
  • Get rid of containers with standing water that give mosquitoes a breeding ground. Examples include water in flowerpots and outdoor pet dishes.
  • Use insect repellent if nonchemical methods are ineffective and you spend time in tall grass and woody areas.
  • Treat camping gear, clothes, and shoes with permethrin, which repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects. Clothing that is pre-treated with permethrin is also commercially available.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/26/2014

Patient Comments

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Bug Bites and Stings - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with bug bites and stings.
Bug Bites and Stings - Keeping Insects Away Question: Please share tips for keeping insects away from you and your home.
Bug Bites and Stings - Removing a Bee Stinger Question: If you've been stung by a bee, how did you or someone else remove the stinger? Please share your experience.
Bug Bites and Stings - Pain and Itch Relief Question: Bug bites hurt and are itchy. What works for you in relieving the pain and itchiness?
Bug Bites and Stings - Tick Removal Question: How do you prevent tick bites? If you've found a tick on someone, how did you remove it?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/bug_bites_and_stings/article.htm

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