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Self-Care

Tips To Keep You Itch-Free This Summer


Mosquitoes, ticks and other biting insects can turn summer festivities into summer itch fests. Taking proper precautions and understanding what to do if you or your children are bitten can make time spent outdoors this summer more enjoyable.

“There’s a lot you can do to protect yourself,” according to Boyd Bush, president of Tender Corporation, a manufacturer of insect repellents.

The Tender Corporation offers the following tips for keeping the bugs away this summer season:

  • Cover up. Cover your skin as completely as possible by wearing long sleeved shirts, long pants and shoes.

  • Be color-conscious. Wear khaki or neutral colors. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, especially blue.

  • Use good sense about scents. Avoid heavily scented toiletries, scented soaps, lotions and shampoos. They attract bugs and bees.

  • Use repellent. Apply the proper insect repellent to clothing and uncovered skin.

  • DEET repellents: “If you will be in bug-infested areas, or where Lyme Disease or encephalitis is a concern, look for a repellent containing at least 15 to 25 percent DEET,” Bush said.

Areas heavily infested with mosquitoes and ticks, may require a stronger concentration.

Alternative repellents: Concerned about chemical repellents? Try a citronella-based product. Some citronella-based products on the market are recommended for children and for situations where re-application is necessary.

Be prepared. Carry repellents in your car’s glove compartment or tackle box, backpack or beach bag.

Avoid spots popular with bugs. Mosquitoes like cool, moist places, so avoid stagnant pools of water whenever possible. Popular breeding grounds include puddles, birdbaths and inside old tires.

Flies and bees. Flies hover around animals and sweets; black flies are attracted to dark, moving objects; hornets nest in trees and bushes; and yellow jackets are drawn to food and generally nest in the ground. Bees appear to sting most when the weather is gray.

Pick the right time. Black flies are more prevalent in the morning, mosquitoes tend to bite at dawn and twilight, and deerflies are most active at midday.

Kid safety. Children are vulnerable to bug bites because they are close to the ground and to flowers and plants that harbor insects. Make sure they’re protected with proper clothing and repellent. If using a DEET repellant, bathe your children when they return indoors for the night.

Check for bites. Check your children and yourself for bites — especially tick bites. If you find a tick, carefully remove it by grasping its head with tweezers and pulling straight up. To reduce rick of infection, clean the bite with hydrogen peroxide. Be alert for the next 30 days for either a “bulls-eye” rash (a red ring with a white center) at the site of the bite or flu-like symptoms. The presence of either might signify Lyme Disease and should prompt a visit to your pediatrician.

Don't scratch. "Impetigo, an infectious and common disease among children, usually begins when a child scratches a bug bite or other small break in the skin," said Bush. "If bitten, apply an insect bite treatment."

For more information visit the Tender Corporation Web site at http://www.tendercorp.com.


© 2000 Health Resources Publishing