■ Chronicle / News Service
(StatePoint) From hikes to picnics to relaxing in the hammock, nothing ruins summer fun quite as fast as bug bites. Unfortunately, bug bites are more than just a nuisance. They can trigger allergic reactions in some people, and may transmit diseases like Zika Virus, Dengue Fever, West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease.
Taking these precautions this summer can help the whole family stay bite-free.
Drain the swamp
Standing water can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Walk around your property after rainfall or after watering the lawn and take note of areas that are not draining properly or are catching and holding water in objects like garden buckets, lids and Frisbees. The smallest puddle of water can breed mosquitoes. Drain everything you find.
Choose the right bug spray
Lyme Disease expert, Dr. Michael Jacobs, MD, says “When shopping for insect repellents, look for those with the active ingredients DEET or Picaridin, two of the most effective active ingredients at preventing bug bites. Stronger concentrations of the active ingredient in the formula will give you more hours of protection. For example, a 10 percent DEET or 7 percent Picaridin formula provides one to two hours of protection, while higher concentrations provide protection for eight hours and longer.”
Safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women, and a popular choice for families, Natrapel Tick & Insect Repellant uses the CDC-recommended 20 percent Picaridin active ingredient and provides up to 12 hours of protection against mosquitoes and ticks. This formula is also safe on gear and comes in variety of sprays and wipes for easy application.
For outdoor enthusiasts, DEET is the best-selling active ingredient in the U.S. For a trusted choice, consider Ben’s Tick & Insect Repellent, the first brand to register a 10-hour, 100 percent DEET formula with the Environmental Protection Agency. The brand also offers an eight-hour, 30 percent DEET water-based formula that is made to evaporate slowly – so repellent stays on longer with little absorption into the skin.
Cover up and be smart
Make your skin less vulnerable to bug bites with smart fashion choices. When outdoors, particularly in wooded areas, wear loose-fitting long sleeves and pants. Light colors are a good choice, as mosquitoes seem to prefer darker clothing.
Have you ever felt you were being eaten alive by mosquitoes, while everyone else around you remained unaffected? There are many factors that can make one person more appealing than another to mosquitoes. And some are beyond one’s control, such as blood type and genetics. However, mosquitoes are attracted to sweat, so don’t forget the deodorant. They also seem to prefer beer drinkers, according to a study by Japanese researchers.
Vacation or Staycation
Get savvy when traveling. Research your destination so you know what types of insects you can expect to encounter. Staying nearby? Remember, most species of mosquitoes in the U.S. are busiest at dusk. During those hours, take extra precautions to avoid becoming their meal.
This summer, stay safe and comfortable by thinking about these strategies. By doing so, you will keep the bugs at bay so you can play.