School is out and it is time to put down the textbooks, close the laptops, and hit the great outdoors. Before we send our kids out exploring the world around them, we lather them with sunscreen and make sure they are hydrated. What about bug spray? Should we be protecting them from pesky flyers and creepy crawlers? Some insects can be harmful, but even just the risk of an itchy summer kid is enough to make me focus on prevention.
Which bugs should be avoided?
Mosquitos – In addition to simply being annoying, depending where you are, mosquitos can transmit diseases such as West Nile virus, yellow fever and malaria.
Ticks – Most tick bites are harmless, but ticks can carry a slew of dangerous diseases including Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Flies – While often thought of as just a buzzing nuisance, flies are filthy little buggers often going straight from a pile of poop to your potato salad. Even the ones who don’t bite can put you at risk for illness.
Bees – Simply painful for most people, a bee sting can be very serious for about 2 million Americans who are allergic.
How can you prevent bugs from ruining your summer fun?
— Keep stagnant water away from your home, mosquitos love to hover over puddles, kiddie pools and empty garbage cans.
— Make sure trash is kept tightly contained, so you don’t give flies a breeding ground.
— Clean up after animals. While this is always a good practice, pet waste attracts unwelcome visitors.
— Keep food covered outdoors and put leftovers away as quickly as possible.
— Make sure your screens are intact, and fill any cracks or holes which present possible entry points for insects.
ON THE GO:
— Wear loose fitting clothing to cover as much skin as possible when in a tick or mosquito infested area.
— Stay indoors at sunrise (easy) and sunset (harder) when mosquitos are most active.
— Use insect repellent. Check out Bug Spray Safety.
— If you or a family member has a known bee allergy, keep your epipen ready at all times. If someone develops hives, difficulty breathing, wheezing or other systemic symptoms after a bug bite or sting, call 911 immediately.
Bugs are ubiquitous and they are a fact of life. Do not let fear of them make you or your kids crazy, but take a healthy dose of precaution. It will go a long way.