Summertime brings many opportunities for outdoor activities. From camping and hiking to playing tag in the backyard, kids and adults alike can enjoy the warm weather. Make sure your family takes the following precautions to avoid missing outdoor fun due to mosquito and tick bites.
Before you go outside:
- Use bug repellent on your skin and clothing.
- The CDC recommends wearing an EPA-registered insect repellent that contains active ingredients such as DEET or picaridin.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks to cover your skin.
- Also tuck your pants into your socks to reduce the odds that a tick will crawl up your pant leg.
- If you’re going into a brushy area or the woods, wear repellent that contains 20% or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin.
- Mosquitos breed in stagnant water, so clean up toys and other items outside that may be collecting water.
- Close gaps in your windows, walls, doors and screens to help keep mosquitos from getting into your house.
When you come back indoors:
- Take a bath or shower as soon as you can—this increases the odds that you’ll wash off or spot ticks that may be crawling on you.
- Inspect your gear and wash your clothes with hot water, followed by a tumble in a hot dryer is also important according to the CDC.
- Conduct a full body check for ticks, specifically in the following areas: in and around hair, ears, underarms, inside belly button, between legs and the backs of knees.
- If you do find a tick, remove it immediately. The easiest way to remove a tick is by grasping the tick’s head. Pull firmly but gently to remove from skin.
Don’t forget about fido!
- Check your pets for ticks.
- Use tick medication on pets that go outdoors. Ticks don’t just live in the forests and brushy areas—they can be in your yard and even in your home.
Following these guidelines as best as you can will help prevent tick and mosquito bites. It’s very important to be aware of any bites you or family receives after being outside. If you happen to get sick and suspect that a mosquito or tick is the culprit, let your American Family Care doctor know immediately. Our clinics are open Monday – Sunday with extended hours, so there is always someone available to help. To find a clinic near you visit www.americanfamilycare.com.