Tips on How to Avoid Summer Bites, Stings and Rashes
When summer rolls around, nothing beats soaking up the rays, hiking in a forest
or playing Frisbee with the family … until a mosquito, bee or poisonous plant
ruins the fun.
“Summer is the best of times and the worst,”
said Christopher Ohl, M.D., professor of infectious
diseases at Wake Forest Baptist Medical
Center. “We finally have time to enjoy the outdoors, but we
don’t always mingle well with nature.”
Ohl shares the following
- Wear proper
clothing. Cover as much skin as
- Use insect
repellent. Specifically, a 30 to 35 percent
- Resist the urge
to scratch. To ease the itch of a mosquito bite, apply
over-the-counter one percent hydrocortisone cream. If you have a lot of bites,
take an over-the-counter antihistamine tablet such as diphenhydramine
Poison ivy, oak and
- Learn how to identify
them. Study the unique features of each plant before heading
out to a wooded area, and avoid them.
up. Just like with mosquitoes, cover as much skin as you
everything. Regularly wash clothing, garden tools, camping gear,
dogs, yard toys, etc. that may come in contact with these plants. Urushiol, the
oil that causes skin irritations, can stick to anything and transfer easily from
one object to another.
- Contain the
urushiol. If you brush up against one of these plants, or touch
something that did, wash the skin with soap and water to prevent the spread of
- Leave them
alone: If one comes near, stay still. Never take a
swipe at one.
- Properly treat
the sting: Remove the stinger and its attached venom sac
as quickly as possible with your fingernail or tweezers. Once it’s gone, wash
the area with soap and water. Finally, apply ice and take acetaminophen or
ibuprofen for pain.
reaction. Know ahead of time
if you or anyone in your group is allergic to bee stings. An epinephrine auto
injector (EpiPen) may be needed to prevent anaphylactic shock. Take proper
emergency precautions including calling 911 if the person doesn’t recover
quickly from the sting.
“Most of all, have fun this
summer,” Ohl said. “Letting these pests gnaw at you could spoil the fun before