Bug Bites: How to Prevent and Treat
The bite: You’ve seen it: a soft pale bump that turns red and swollen. Mosquito bites are usually innocuous, but they can carry serious diseases, such as West Nile virus.
Treat it: Washing the area with soap and water may diminish your reaction. An ice pack can reduce swelling; soothe itching with calamine lotion or an oral antihistamine.
Avoid it: Check your yard for pools of stagnant water (mosquitoes love ’em). If you’re out at dawn or dusk, cover up and/or use a repellent (25 to 40% DEET) on exposed skin.
Treat it: Remove stinger ASAP with tweezers; wash and apply a cold compress. If you have symptoms of anaphylaxis (fainting, shortness of breath, wheezing), call 911.
Avoid it: Bees love all things sweet, including that half-empty soda can at your picnic. Toss plates and cups, and dress in light colorsbees are drawn to bold, bright hues.
Treat it: Check for ticks after you’ve been outdoors; remove ’em promptly. (Use tweezers to grasp at the head or mouth, and pull gently.) If you spot a rash, visit your doc stat.
Avoid it: Wear long sleeves, pants, and socks in areas with woods or tall grass; stick to the middle of trails and avoid leafy debris. Wearing repellents with DEET helps, too.
Treat it: Use a hydrocortisone cream or oral antihistamine to ease the itch. Be sure to call an exterminator ASAP. (For more info, go to Health.com/bedbug-facts)
Avoid it: To keep from picking up hitchhikers during summer travels, check your hotel room as soon as you arrive. If you spot any signs of, swap your lodging.
Treat it: Hop in a warm, soapy bath when you’re home, and use a washcloth to gently remove chiggers. The itch typically lasts a couple of days; soothing lotions may help.
Avoid it: Chiggers dine in the afternoon; if you’re hiking then, wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and closed-toe shoes. Mosquito repellent keeps chiggers away, too.