Protect yourself from unwanted pests this summer

By Robert Ambrose

When you plan for a nature outing, you might prepare to bring some food and drink. But what can make you the host of a party you never want?

Bugs.

Those little creatures do not pay rent to land on your skin. As seasonal blood-lovers, ticks and mosquitoes swing to full parasite mode during spring, summer, and fall. As transcontinental free-loaders, ticks and mosquitoes steal your blood – and give you problems ex-post. Ticks transfer Lyme disease while mosquitoes cause multiple issues including body muscle aches, fever, headaches, joint pain, rash, neck stiffness and even in rare instances paralysis.

As you make your ways in the great outdoors, skip the bug problems and still have fun. Several ways to do that: avoid high grass, standing water, and weed-filled forests. Use insect repellant with 20-50% DEET chemical to hide your human scent from ticks and mosquitoes. Permethrin is a super-charged bug spray like 94 octane gas is to cars but permethrin is only for clothes – not your skin.

Before you trek, remember that clothes can make the difference. For example, light colored clothing makes the ticks easier to spot than dark colors. (Also, in the summer light colors keep you cooler than dark because sunshine is reflected).

If a tick finds you, take action. Never allow the free-loader to burrow in your skin. Yank any tick with tweezers immediately. Wash the skin area where the tick was. Later, a washing machine’s hot water will kill any unseen clothing-bound ticks. See a doctor if you develop any vector-borne disease.

Some other steps to practice in your outdoor space:

  • Do not let water stand;
  • Discard debris in ditches; and
  • Cover equipment.

Being aware, taking the aforementioned precautions, and taking action will raise probability of summer health well-being. For additional first aid safety tips on treating things like tick and insect bites, download the free Red Cross First Aid app.

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