Summer time is the perfect time for outdoor fun. But you’ve probably noticed that the bugs are also out to have a good time! No worries, there are some things that you can do to prevent getting bitten and stung. The most important thing that you can do is to have an adult help you put on bug spray with 10% to 30% DEET before you play outside. If you plan on going on a hike or playing in a wooded area, be sure to wear light weight long sleeved shirts and long pants that are tucked into your socks. If you do get bitten or stung, don’t panic, tell a grown up. They can help you to wash the area with soap and water and apply anti-itch cream.
Most bug bites and stings are not harmful, however, there are a few bugs that can pass on germs that might make you sick. In our area, that bug is a deer tick and it can pass on Lyme’s disease. These ticks are a little sneaky because you don’t feel them bite. They like to hang out in nooks and crannies, like in the hair, behind the ears and under the arms. This year ecologists are predicting that there will be a record number of these ticks around, so what should you do? Use that bug spray and check your body for ticks after you play outside. You might need some help from your parents with this because deer ticks are very small, about the size of a poppy seed. If you see a tick, your parents can remove it with tweezers which doesn’t hurt at all. After a tick bite, you, your parents and doctor need to watch for any signs that you might be sick. If you feel tired, achy, and get a fever or rash your doctor might start you on an antibiotic. Lyme disease is curable with antibiotics just like an ear infection or strep throat.
Ticks also like to hang out in dog fur, so if you have a dog, make sure that they wear a tick collar.
Dominique Foulkes M.D.