Bug Bites and Stings
- Bug bites and stings introduction
- What can I do to keep insects away?
- What's the proper way to use insect repellent?
- What's the best way to remove a bee stinger?
- What should I do if I find a tick on me or my child?
- What can be done for itching and pain from bites and stings?
- When is medical attention needed?
- Where can I find more information on bug bites and stings?
- Patient Comments: Bug Bites and Stings - Experience
- Patient Comments: Bug Bites and Stings - Pain and Itch Relief
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.
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