6 tips for a bug-bite-free summer

6 tips for a bug-bite-free summer

Summertime gives families the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and allows kids to spend fun times together. It is also important to remember that time spent outdoors can mean exposure to pesky bugs including mosquitoes, ticks and fleas.

Each of these bugs carries viruses, disease or serious infection that can potentially harm children, which means parents need to take certain precautions to keep kids safe.

“During the summer months it is critical that parents remember to protect their children from bugs by using proper insect repellent and avoiding areas with high insect populations,”said Dr. Mike Gittelman, co-director of the Cincinnati-based Comprehensive Children’s Injury Center, in a statement.

Dr. Gittelman along with the American Academy of Pediatrics offer the following tips on keeping kids safe from summer bugs:

  • Avoid using scented soaps, perfumes and hair sprays on your child.
  • Steer kids clear of areas where insects nest, such as stagnant water, blooming gardens and uncovered foods. Ticks are common in yard waste and high grasses.
  • Use repellent with 20 percent DEET to keep ticks away. Do not use DEET on kids younger than 2 months old. Always read the label for DEET concentration, which varies among products.
  • Use picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or products containing DEET to keep mosquitoes at bay. You can also treat clothes with permethrin or buy clothing pretreated with this.
  • After kids have been outside, have them shower as soon as possible and check their bodies for ticks. Wash and tumble dry their clothes and check your pets for ticks.
  • If your child develops a rash, fever, body aches, fatigue, headache, stiff neck and/or disorientation within one to three weeks after being bitten, call your primary care doctor.

Dr. Catherine Creticos, chief of infectious diseases at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago agrees with these recommendations and adds some of her own. “We also tell people to wear long sleeves and long pants for hiking in the woods and places where there will be lots of ticks and insects,” she says.

Travelers to other regions must also take precautions and be on alert for diseases caused by mosquitoes. Those traveling to the Caribbean this summer, for example, are at risk for dengue and Chikungunya fever, Dr. Creticos adds, which has also shown up in Florida and other southern states. “Travelers to these common destinations need to use protection for these mosquito-borne illnesses; tick exposure in these areas is less likely,” she explains.

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  1. We diligently check our two year old for ticks after he’s been playing outside. Luckily we haven’t had any “friends”.

  2. I’m going to keep these tips in mind when up in northern Wisconsin. The mosquitos are terrible there! Does anyone have any suggestions for safe mosquito foggers?

  3. I actually am one of those people that “doesn’t get mosquito bites”, or at least I don’t get the reaction. But ticks, ick, they definitely scare me a bit!

  4. foofee doofee July 7, 2014 at 3:06 pm · Reply

    DEET? Now there’s a great idea NOT! Toxic poison on your skin may keep the bugs away, you can worry about all the health effects later. People, essential oils mixed with water that you can make at home work great, smell good and are not harmful. We even found an essential oil fly spray for the horses at our local co op. I’ve been making flea repellant for my dog to keep away fleas for years. Works great! Citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, cedar bark, peppermint, lemon, rosemary all these great oils work wonderfully! Just Google natural bug sprays or essential oil sprays and you’ll find just what you need. Cheaper, easier and non-toxic. Plus there’s always skin so soft by Avon…..

  5. as a cancer survivor I would like to see natural suggestions vs the nasty DEET as well

  6. Use of mosquito repellents is the best option… I also use mosquito banditz from Jungle Magic… they really works very well…

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.