What to do about bug bites and stings
Summertime means lots of outdoor time, but you’re not the only one enjoying lying in the grass. Mosquitoes, bees, wasps and hornets may also be in your backyard. Here’s the rundown of common insect-related injuries, and what you can do about them.
Mosquito bites, the most common bug bites during summer months, are itchy. They appear as small, red bumps on your skin. You can avoid mosquito bites by limiting your time outdoors in the evening, and wearing ample bug spray at night.
Most mosquito bites can be treated with an ice pack or anti-inflammatory lotion to stop the itching. In more severe cases, mosquito bites can cause disease. Consult your physician if you’re concerned about mosquito bites.
Stings from bees, wasps and hornets
Bees, wasps and hornets might be buzzing around your yard, and their stings can be really painful. After removing the stinger, wash the area with soapy water and apply an ice pack to help reduce the pain.
Allergies to bee stings are fairly common. Allergic reactions to being stung can cause swelling, breathing problems and even shock. Call 911 immediately if you experience any severe symptoms.
Spider bites are another common bug bite throughout the year since spiders can live in your house as well as outside. The bitten area will turn red and swell up, and may be painful or itchy. This usually isn’t cause for concern, and can be treated with soapy water and an ice pack.
There are a few dangerous spiders to watch out for, like brown recluses and black widows. These spiders can cause damage to your skin and nervous system, so if you have any severe symptoms following a spider bite consult your physician immediately.
No matter how careful you are outdoors, there’s always the risk of carrying a tick home. The best prevention is to wear long sleeves and pants when walking through the woods to reduce the risk of a tick climbing onto your body.
In rare cases, ticks can carry diseases, but most tick bites carry no risk aside from minor swelling or a rash. If you do discover a tick on your body, you can remove it with tweezers by grasping the insect as close to your skin as possible. Dispose of the tick, and wash the bitten area with soapy water.
Other bugs like ants and some flies can even bite, but are generally no cause for concern. The best thing you can do after being bitten by any bug is to remove yourself from the area. Examine the bite or sting, treat it as described and keep an eye out for more severe symptoms.