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Bug bites this summer

Bug bites this summer

This summer, at the Main Clinic, I've been seeing a lot of bug bites, most commonly flea and mosquito bites. The bites range in severity from normal local allergic reactions all the way to skin infections. I have also seen two cases presented with suspicion of Lyme disease after a red ring appeared around a tick bite, resembling a bulls-eye. Therefore, I would like to offer some tips on how to prevent and treat bug bites.

Tips to help prevent bug bites:

  • Apply insect repellent before going outside, following label instructions.
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing neutral colored long-sleeved shirts, pants, and hats.
  • Stay indoors during dusk and dawn as this is peak breeding and feeding time for bugs.
  • Avoid wearing flowery perfumes because insects love flower nectar and may confuse you for one.
  • Avoid stepping on ant mounds if you live in an area that has fire ants.
  • Stay calm and slowly back away if you see a stinging insect.
  • Call pest-control to safely get rid of insect nests in or near your house

If you do happen to get stung avoid scratching it because broken skin can lead to an infection. Instead, to treat the pain and swelling around the area of the sting, you can:

  • Wash the area with soap and cool water
  • Apply a cold, damp washcloth to the area
  • Take or apply anti-itch medicine
  • Take a nonprescription pain medicine for the pain

Some people do have severe allergic reactions to insect stings called anaphylaxis. You should call 911 and seek medical attention immediately if you have trouble breathing, start to swell around the face, eyelids, ears, mouth, hands, or feet, develop belly cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, feel dizzy, or pass out. You may be having an allergic reaction, or you might have contracted a disease from the insect.

Even though there is nothing worse than being attacked by insects while you're trying to enjoy the beautiful outdoors I hope these tips help everyone stay healthy this summer.

You can schedule an appointment at the Main Clinic by visiting or calling 307-688-3636. For more information on how to prevent and treat bug bites you can also visit the CDC: Travelers' Health.