Insect bites transmit vector-borne diseases to humans and animals. Vector-borne diseases are viral and bacterial infections passed on by bugs like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. During summer months, bugs are looking for flesh to bite or sting, passing on their venomous infections to their subjects. Being proactive against the onslaught of insects prevents the transmission of disease.
Avoid Areas with High Insect Activity
One of the best ways to prevent the spread of insect-borne diseases is avoiding areas that have a lot of insect activity. These include wooded areas with high grass and lots of bushes, orchard and gardens with blooming flowers. Make sure your home does not have insect-friendly environments like water-filled containers such as flower pots, garbage cans and pools with still water.
Wear the Proper Clothing
You may not be able to completely avoid areas where insects gather, especially if you like exploring the woods, hiking, or taking your children to local parks. To decrease your chances of getting a disease from an insect bite, wear light-colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants. HealthyChildren.org says not to dress your children in bright or dark colors or clothing with flower patterns. This advice also applies to adults. Make sure to wear shoes when walking outside.
Avoid Strong Body Products
If you plan to go outside, leave your sweet-smelling body products at home because they attract insects. Instead, bath in unscented soaps and wash hair in plain shampoo. You should also use unscented deodorants and avoid strong colognes, perfumes, hair oils, hair sprays, and lotions, according to National Jewish Health. The mixture of strong body products and perspiration really attract bugs, so definitely avoid them when exercising outdoors.
Use Insect Repellent
Using insect repellent on your skin and clothing keeps pests, especially mosquitoes, away when you go outside. The CDC recommends using repellents containing 20-50 percent DEET, the active ingredient that deters biting insects like mosquitoes and ticks. Mosquitoes and ticks are the two common perpetrators in transmitting diseases. Because DEET is a powerful ingredient, you should make sure to avoid your eyes, open wounds, and irritated skin. Products containing DEET should be used sparingly in children and not used at all on newborns.
Cover Food and Drinks
Nothing ruins a picnic or barbecue more than unwanted guests in the form of crawling bugs or winged invaders. In addition to being annoyances, they could expose you and your guests to infections spread by the tiny invaders. Covering food and drinks do not attract insects to the scents. Even when you throw food away, make sure the garbage can has a secure top or enclose trash in thick garbage bags.
Administer Immediate First Aid
If you still get bitten even after taking all of the necessary precautions, administer first aid to treat bites. Once you go inside, check your body or have someone else check you for puncture wounds. Ticks often bite before you realize what has happened. If stingers are present, remove them and wash with soap and water. You should take pain killers, ice packs, and topical creams for pain and itch relief.
Insect bites sometimes lead to infectious diseases that require medical intervention. If you don’t want to contract an illness, you need to make sure you avoid areas with bugs or protecting your body. You also need to make sure you do not create an environment that attracts them. In general, the best prevention is being proactive against winged or crawling pests.