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Preventing and Treating Summer Bug Bites

Summer in Ohio means sunny days spent hiking or relaxing by the lake. However, these activities may also come with unwanted guests: pesky biting insects. Mosquitoes and ticks are the most common insect culprits in Ohio, and it is essential to know what to look out for and how to treat insect bites to prevent infections and other health risks. Here are some tips on how to prevent and treat bug bites to enjoy a worry-free summer.

What are bug bite symptoms?

As bugs come out in full force during the summer months, it is quite common to get bitten. Bug bites may range from just being annoying to a serious medical issue. Mosquito bites can cause redness, itching, and swelling, while tick bites can cause a rash, fever, and joint pain. 

In very rare cases, anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can occur in response to an insect sting or bite. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include shortness of breath, swelling of the face or throat, and a rapid pulse. If you experience any of these symptoms after being bitten, seek medical attention immediately.

How to treat bug bites

If you get bitten, there are several ways to treat insect bites. Here are some tips: 

  • To alleviate any irritation from bug bites, you can use over-the-counter creams, such as calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream, or antihistamine creams like Benadryl or Claritin. 
  • If the bug bite is particularly itchy or uncomfortable, you may consider taking an antihistamine like Benadryl, Claritin or Allegra as-needed.
  • It's essential to avoid scratching the bug bite. Scratching can make the itching worse, cause a possible infection, or create scars. 
  • Wash the bug bite with soap and water and apply creams directly on the bite twice a day or as-needed.
  • If you experience an allergic reaction to a bite, seek immediate medical attention.

How to avoid bug bites

The best way to deal with bug bites is to prevent them in the first place. Here are some tips to steer clear of bugs this summer:

  • Use insect repellent: When you're outdoors, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs and use an EPA-approved insect repellent that contains DEET or picaridin. 
  • Avoid certain areas: Avoid outdoor activities during dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. 
  • Remove standing water: Get rid of any standing water nearby, such as in buckets, flower pots, gutters, and birdbaths. 
  • Clean your surroundings: Make sure your yard is mowed and free of debris, tall grasses, and weeds that may attract insects such as ticks.

Schedule an allergy appointment

Don't let pesky insect bites ruin your summer fun. Remember to wear protective clothing, use insect repellent, and be vigilant about signs of tick bites and related illnesses. It's also important to know how to treat insect bites to prevent further complications. 

If you have questions or concerns, you can always call our office or schedule an appointment online. At Modern Allergy, let our team of experts help to identify the difference between an allergic reaction and a normal reaction to insect stings.

June 15, 2023

Dr. Greg Bennett headshot

Dr. Greg Bennett is board certified in both Pediatrics and Allergy/Immunology and has over 10 years of experience in the field of medicine. ‍

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