Families love the outdoor experiences that summer brings, but preventing minor mishaps like bug bites can be a concern. Here are some tips for parents.
Preventing tick bites
Nature trails, gardening, or even walking your dog can put you in close contact with ticks, which are most active during warmer spring and summer months. Ticks can live in grassy, brushy and wooded areas, right where children are likely to be playing.
If you can’t avoid these areas, parents may want to consider treating clothing and gear with child-safe insect repellent. Remember that when exercising this option, please use all products as directed. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, it is not recommended that insect repellent be used on babies younger than two months old, and it is not recommended that Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) be used on children under 3 years old.
Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants can be helpful if you are in highly wooded areas. You may even tuck pants into socks and shoes to limit skin exposure, and avoid going barefoot or wearing open-toe sandals.
It’s a good idea to shower within two hours after coming indoors. Check your body for ticks, especially under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, in and around hair, between legs and around the waist.
Check all clothing for ticks. Tumble-drying garments on high heat for 10 minutes will kill ticks, and hot water is recommended for washing. Don’t forget to check your pets, who could unknowingly carry pests into the house.
Outdoor pesticides can help reduce the number of ticks in an area, but they must be used carefully according to specified instructions. Simple landscaping techniques can also create a safer yard. These include:
The CDC shared this information on tick prevention and what to do if you find one attached.
Preventing mosquito bites
In most cases, a mosquito bite is simply an itchy nuisance, but it may also spread viruses that can make you sick. Mosquito season starts in the summer and continues into fall, when the insects may hibernate in warm places like garages or sheds. Pesky mosquitoes can live indoors and outdoors, and although they are most active from dusk to dawn, they bite anytime during the day and night.
Controlling mosquitoes begins with paying attention to the places where they lay eggs—particularly near water, which is needed for larvae to survive. Homeowners can remove standing water that may accumulate in tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, clogged gutters and trash containers. These items should be emptied, scrubbed, turned over, covered or thrown away. It is important to keep mosquitoes outside by using screens on windows and doors and using air conditioning when available.
West Nile virus is the most common virus spread by mosquitoes in the United States. Health officials in Oakland County have found West Nile samples in the mosquito pool recently and residents are asked to exercise caution. Other areas of the world are at risk for other illnesses and problems. Travelers are advised to take necessary steps and learn more about the areas they plan to visit.
The Oakland County Health Department offers these mosquito prevention tips.
A combination of bug prevention tactics may help you enjoy your summer safely. Pesticides, repellents, structural barriers and attention to surroundings can help you and your family avoid bug bites and stay healthy!