Don’t Let Bug Bites Get the Best of You

Seasonal Tips Steward Health Care

Bug bites, along with crisp slices of watermelon and the heat of a backyard barbecue, are a quintessential part of summer. If you’re out and about this summer season, chances are that you’ll need a quick home remedy to relieve bites no matter how small they might be.

Bee Stings

If you get stung by one of our friends in yellow and black, you should first attempt to remove the stinger from the affected area.

You can do this by scraping it away with something that has a straight edge like a credit card or thin ruler. After removing the stinger, clean the area with soap and water and apply a soothing cream to the area — this could be a hydrocortisone cream or even a homemade paste of baking soda and water.

Swelling is normal, and applying a cold compress to the area (such as an ice pack) is always helpful in helping this symptom subside. However, if the swelling becomes excessive, immediately seek medical attention — it could be a potentially harmful reaction. Signs to watch out for include difficulty breathing, swelling in other areas of the body (lips, throat), or breaking out into hives.

Spider Bites

These creepy crawlies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and it’s always a good idea to identify which spiders may be poisonous or not.

For your normal house spider, simply clean the area with soap and water and keep the area elevated above heart level. To mitigate swelling, apply ice or a cold compress to the area. Other adverse effects should be treated by a medical professional immediately.

Tick Bites

Tick bites can result in Lyme disease if left untreated for too long. Luckily, if it’s been attached to skin for less than 36 to 48 hours, the likelihood of contracting Lyme disease is significantly reduced.

Summer is an opportune time to get outside and live the outdoors, but camping in the woods can brings you in potentially close contact with ticks. You can remove ticks by carefully plucking them off your skin with a pair of tweezers — make sure that you get both the head and body, as the former can get easily detached if done too forcefully.

Mosquito Bites

Mosquitoes love to congregate around bodies of open water, meaning that they’re more present than ever when you’re at your favorite swimming pool or watering hole. Mosquito bites are generally harmless and result in itching and redness, but some viruses like West Nile and Zika are spread by these parasitic carriers.

To reduce itching, use calamine lotion or a hydrocortisone cream — but stay proactive and apply a light layer of bug spray to exposed skin before heading outside. Make sure that you always read the instructions of your chosen bug spray, and avoid applying it to open sores or to the face. Once you’re back indoors, be sure to wash off any leftover spray residue.

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