Bites & Stings
June 7, 2007
Summertime is right around the corner. Along with the sunshine, picnics and swimming, may come a few unwelcome guests who can fly in - uninvited. Dr. Mom has a few tips on how handle these unwelcome guests and what to do if they just won't leave.
Are you planning a fun family picnic at the park, a leisurely day at the beach, or a fun afternoon in the backyard? Don't let maddening mosquitoes, and buzzing bees keep you from enjoying that outdoor fun.
Mosquitoes are one of the most annoying outdoor pests, and they like to hang out where ever people, food, and pools of water are found. A mosquito bite is usually a nuisance, - they bite and you itch. When bees and their relatives sting, it is painful, and the area may get red or swollen. However, the sting can be more dangerous to those who are allergic to bee and wasp stings. Some allergic reactions may be swelling, breaking out in hives, wheezing, shortness of breath, and rapid heartbeat. If the symptoms occur, get medical help immediately.
The Two Most Common insect repellents include:
- DEET. This pesticide has been the insect repellent of choice in the United States. DEET blocks a mosquito's ability to find people who have applied it. It has been shown to be the most effective repellant and can be used by anyone over 2 months old as long as the concentration does not exceed 30%.
- Picaridin. Picaridin works in the same way as DEET. However, Picaridin is not greasy and is almost odorless so it is often better tolerated by persons with allergies.
Be sure to follow the instructions on the can of insect repellent.
Tips on preventing bits and stings:
If a bug still manages to dine on your skin, try some of the following:
- Use insect repellents
- Wearing protective clothing such as long sleeved shirts, socks, and long pants
- Wear light colored clothing since mosquitoes are attracted to darker colors
- Wear hats with wide brims or caps with flap can help protect the back of your neck
- Avoid locations with standing water, i.e., unused containers, birdbaths, buckets, wading pools, old tires
- Try to stay inside when mosquitoes are most active, dawn and dusk
- Stay away from opened beverages such as soda and juice which attract stinging insects
- Avoid swatting or swinging at buzzing insects
- Avoid bee hives and wasp nests
- Avoid wearing perfumes
- For mosquito bites
- Use hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion
- An ice pack may help
- If more serious symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately
- For bee or wasp stings
- Remove the stinger. Do not squeeze the site but rather scrape over the site with the edge of a credit card to remove the stinger
- Clean the area using soap and water
- Applying ice will help relieve swelling and redness
- Apply hydrocortisone cream
- Take a pain reliever
- If more serious symptoms occur, see medical attention immediately.
ENJOY THE GREAT OUTDOORS!
The AAP recommendation on insect repellents: Combination products containing DEET and sunscreen are NOT recommended, primarily because sunscreen should be reapplied frequently, particularly for activities centered around water, which will remove the sunscreen. In contrast, repellents should be applied as infrequently as possible.