Just like we have been cooped up all winter, so have a number of those creatures that we’ve come to despise: insects. With summer just around the corner, insects are beginning to emerge and are readying themselves for attack.
According to MSNBC.com every year, bug bites and stings send more than 500,000 people to emergency rooms with potentially fatal allergic reactions. So what’s the best way to avoid bug and mosquito bites? Experts suggest that the best way to deal with insect bites and stings is to prevent them before they happen.
Here are a few ways, provided by MSNBC.com to prevent these nasty little bites:
Apply repellents to exposed skin. Insect repellents can help reduce exposure to mosquito bites that may carry viruses like West Nile and Lyme disease while still allowing you to play and work outdoors. Do not apply repellents directly to your face, instead spray the repellent into your hands and apply to your face that way.
Consider DEET. DEET is considered the most effective repellent in bug sprays. Even though it has scared away some consumers because of its potent chemical properties, in 1998 the EPA ruled DEET safe for repelling mosquitoes and ticks. However, it’s still a good idea to only apply DEET every 6 to 8 hours.
If you prefer a more natural and eco-friendly approach, try natural repellents that rely on herbal ingredients. Herbal repellents work by masking human odors and fooling mosquitoes and other biting insects. Some repellents also use odors that are unpleasant to the bugs and deter them away from the scent. Plants whose essential oils are reputed to repel insects include cedar, verbena, pennyroyal, geranium, lavender, pine, cinnamon, rosemary, basil, thyme, allspice, garlic, and peppermint.
Stay indoors at dawn and dusk as this is when the flying insects are most likely to hit.
Get rid of standing water in your yard. These are huge breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Clear clogs from gutters, change the water in birdbaths twice weekly and change pets’ outdoor water dishes daily.
Do not swat or attempt to hit a flying insect. This will only make them mad and attack you more frequently.
If you’re being swarmed by mosquitoes try holding a branch above your head to deter flying bugs. Some mosquitoes and gnats naturally swarm to the highest part of the body-or to an extension of it.
Take Vitamin B-1: Studies suggest that taking 25 to 50 milligrams (a safe dosage for adults and children) of thiamin (vitamin B-1) three times a day, starting two weeks before mosquito season reduces your chance of getting bitten. This is due to the fact that vitamin B-1 produces an odor on your skin that wards off mosquitoes; however, the odor is undetectable to humans.
Cover food when it is outdoors. Insects flock to food and the less chance you give them to get to the food, the greater your chance of avoiding them all together.
Avoid bright colored clothes when you are outdoors for extended periods of time. Honeybees, wasps, and yellow jackets see in the ultraviolet spectrum and are attracted to bright colors and floral patterns. If possible wear light colors and long sleeve shirts and pants when you know you’ll be in insect territory.
Try to avoid wearing heavy smelling perfumes outdoors as insects are also attracted to the smells.
Keep these tips in mind before you head outdoors and you won’t be dealing with the wrath of insects biting or stinging you this summer.