How to avoid, detect, treat flea, mosquito, insect and tick bites

Stay safe when you are outdoors. Use insect repellents.

Photo: iStock

Granted that insects are apparently not as dangerous as some animals like snakes or scorpions – which kill immediately with a poisonous sting – but seemingly harmless insect bites can spread dangerous diseases like Zika virus, dengue fever, Lyme disease and malaria.

It is good for your health to take steps to reduce your risk of insect bites, especially if you are visiting areas known to insect-borne diseases.

Experts from the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) recommend the following tips to help prevent insect bites:
  1. Use insecticide: To protect against mosquitoes, ticks and other insects, use an insect repellent containing 20-30% DEET on exposed skin and clothing. But haven’t we heard that insect repellents are toxic chemicals? Always follow the instructions on the repellent and reapply as directed, notify doctors. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when used as directed, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellents have been shown to be safe and effective, even for pregnant women and lactating. Do not use repellent under clothing or on injured or irritated skin. If you also wear sunscreen, apply your sunscreen first, let it dry, then apply insect repellent. Use sunscreen liberally and often while insect repellent should be applied sparingly.
  2. Wear appropriate clothing: Have you opted for a holiday in the heart of nature? Or a farm that embraces the beauty of nature? The excellent and thriving ecosystem can also be filled with insects and other creatures. If you know you’ll be going out at night or hiking in a densely wooded area, wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, socks, and closed-toe shoes instead of sandals. Leave as little exposed skin as possible. For extra protection, pull your socks up over your pants and tuck your shirt into your pants. Pre-treat the outer layers of clothing with an insect repellent containing the active ingredient Permethrin. Do not put these clothes on immediately. Let clothes dry for at least two hours before wearing them. Do all of this under the direction of your dermatologist.
  3. Use mosquito nets that keep insects out: You may have seen in period films how mosquito nets were the norm in the 20th century. They were and are good protection against bugs and insects, especially if you plan to enjoy the great outdoors. Mosquito nets protect against mosquitoes. Check nets that have been pretreated with a pyrethroid insecticide. If it doesn’t reach the floor, tuck it under the mattress for maximum protection. Cotton, nylon, plastic and silk – mosquito nets come in a variety of weaves.

The essential :

If, despite all the care, you are bitten by an insect, apply an ice pack to the bite so that the swelling disappears. Don’t ignore if you develop serious symptoms after an insect bite, such as a rash, fever, or body aches. Contact your doctor or a board-certified dermatologist immediately. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent bite so they can examine you for a communicable disease.

Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or dietitian before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.