Bugs are an annoyance that unfortunately come along with spending more time outdoors. Whether you're camping, waterskiing or even working on your yard this summer, knowing what bugs to look out for can help you stay well all season long.
Here we have the facts you need to know about seven of the most common bug you might encounter this summer including how to identify their bites and how to treat them:
Type of Bug: Mosquito
Bite 101: We could make this list without starting with a mosquito, which are found in wet areas with standing water and/or high humidity. Their bites are raised, red or white and itchy as well as warm to the touch. They can vary in size, depending on how much blood the mosquito was able to draw out. Some carry diseases, so if you have any symptoms beyond the usual, have it checked out.
Type of Bug: Tick
Bite 101: Ticks are prevalent in wooded or grassy areas as well as in shrubs. Anyone hiking should be on the lookout for ticks especially, which attach to the body to consume blood for as long as possible. Most tick bites are harmless and don't produce symptoms, but if you experience a red rash similar to a bullseye near the bite, you need to be checked for lyme disease, which may also cause symptoms such as nausea, muscle weakness, a stiff neck, painful joints and swollen lymph nodes. Be sure to check yourself for ticks when you come inside for the day.
Type of Bug: Spider
Bite 101: While there are many species of spiders that bite and are considered poisonous, their bites rarely cause more than an itchy, red bump. However, if a bite starts to develop a rash resembling a bullseye or is accompanied by symptoms such as headache, sweating, weakness, difficulty breathing or nausea, seek medical attention.
Type of Bug: Bees
Bite 101: Bumblebees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are among the most feared bugs out there because their sting can be so painful. While those with an allergy will need medical treatment if stung, those without allergies will see mild to moderate swelling and a red or white mark, depending on the location. Be sure to remove the stinger immediately.
Type of Bug: Fire Ants
Bite 101: Anyone working outside in the summer months on landscaping or gardening can unintentionally disturb a nest of fire ants, which bite you and then sting you as well. The sight of the sting will either be red or possibly puss filled that may burn (hence the name) and itch. Fire ant bites will be found on the body in clusters.
Type of Bug: Deer Flies
Bite 101: If you're in the forest or near a wetland, be wary of deer flies, which can cause bites that are red, itchy and may even bleed. If the bleeding doesn't stop or your symptoms worsen, be sure to see a doctor, as some flies can carry diseases.
Type of Bug: Gnats
Bite 101: Small flies that are related to mosquitoes, gnats are tiny and usually found in clusters near rivers, streams and lakes, where they lay their eggs. Since they can't bite through clothing, you need to be vigilant of exposed skin, but they can also crawl into unexposed areas and bite, causing small, swollen and itchy spots.
How to Fight Back
While it's not possible to 100 percent avoid bug bites, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and ease symptoms if you do get bit:
- Use bug repellant on both exposed skin and clothing, as many bugs can bite through it. Pick one with DEET, especially for ticks, or you can even make your own!
- Wash any bite immediately with soap and water.
- Avoid itching at all costs. Cover the area with a breathable bandage if needed. Use an anti-itch cream with ingredients like calendula or antihistamine to keep you from scratching.
- Beat the inflammation is with apple cider vinegar by applying raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized vinegar to a cotton ball and dabbing onto the bite. Reapply as needed.
- Ice the area to reduce pain and swelling.
- Shower immediately when coming inside after being outdoors for an extended period of time.
Be sure to apply bug repellant regularly when outside for long periods of time. This is especially important if you're sweating or swimming. As previously mentioned, if a bite isn't healing or exhibits any of the symptoms noted above, be sure to seek medical attention.
Shop for bug sprays and other natural remedies for bites and stings at eVitamins. Check back tomorrow for the latest health news and information!