Spring's warm weather leading into summer makes for many more adventures outdoors and enjoying the warmer weather. However, time spent outdoors can also lead to insect bites and stings causing discomfort for you and your family.
There are many ways you can protect yourself and your family from nasty bites and stings, and treatments if you do suffer from any insect attacks. Below are the most common ways to mitigate insect bites and stings, and what to do if you do get stung or bitten.
Insects such as bees, ants, fleas, flies, mosquitoes, wasps, spiders, and water wildlife like jellyfish may bite or sting if you and your family get too close. Most won’t bother you if you are aware and stay away from them, however it is nearly impossible to not suffer from at least one bite or sting.
An insect bite generally produces a red, itchy bump occasionally with a blister in the middle. In most cases, insect bites will heal and go away on their own however they can cause mild to moderate discomfort. Below is our advice on how best to treat any bites or stings and to ensure a speedy recovery with less chance of infection.
Some people are “mosquito magnets”. It is estimated that 20% of people are more delicious to mosquitos than other people. These people attract mosquitos because of their blood type, how they smell to the mosquito, and how much heat or carbon dioxide (CO2) they give off. Research shows people with blood type “O” or “B” are more likely to be bitten. There are chemicals in sweat such as lactic acid, uric acid and ammonia. If you sweat the right amounts of these chemicals, you have an irresistible perfume to mosquitos.
The increase in CO2 from the air you breathe out alerts the mosquito that a host is nearby and they move to that area. They also use thermal reactions to track heat. Larger people emit more CO2 and get bitten more, as do pregnant women, because during pregnancy body metabolism increases and gives off more CO2 and body heat.
Long-acting repellants: Contain ingredients such as DEET (diethyltoluamide), picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE). Check with your pharmacist, as some of these cannot be used on babies or small children. These repellants are very important if travel is to countries with mosquito-borne diseases e.g. Zika, yellow fever, and malaria.
Short-acting repellants containing natural ingredients such as citronella, lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil, eucalyptus, and peppermint are best used if there is no risk of mosquito-borne diseases.