Ask Dr. Nandi: Protect yourself against summer stings and bites

Posted at 12:25 PM, Jul 09, 2019

Summer is in full swing and so are summer-related bug bites and stings. They’re almost impossible to avoid so what are the best ways to protect ourselves against these pesky insects?

First of all, what’s the most common outdoor summer bug bite?

I’m sure most folks can guess that answer, it’s those nasty mosquitos. Unfortunately, their bites leave reddish itchy bumps that can really drive some people crazy.

Other pesky summer insects are bees, wasps and hornets. They don’t bite but rather sting. And that can hurt, making your skin feel hot, red and itchy too.

It’s important to not scratch as this raises your risk of infection. Instead, use hydrocortisone creams or oral antihistamines to relieve itchiness. If you have pain, you can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Also ice packs or cold compresses can help reduce any swelling.

Most bug bites and stings are harmless but some people can have a serious life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Trouble breathing, face swelling and red spots or hives are warning signs that need medical attention right away.

On top of that, we really need to protect ourselves because mosquitoes can carry viruses or parasites like West Nile and Malaria. So if you start feeling tired all the time, develop headaches, fever or a rash after a being bitten, please see your doctor right away.

These are quite a few things you can to protect yourself do so here are my prescriptions:

  1. Apply insect repellent like DEET but be sure to read the label first. You can also wear long sleeves, pants, and closed-toe shoes.
  2. Eliminate any standing water around your house like in flower pots, birdbaths, and children’s wading pools. These are great breeding areas for mosquitoes.
  3. Know when bugs are most active which raises your bite or sting risk. Mosquito breeding times are dusk and dawn, while bees are more active more during the day.
  4. Lastly, if you know you have an allergy to insect stings, be sure to carry an epinephrine pen with you at all times.