Summer brings us outside to enjoy the warm weather, but it also brings out some uninvited guests. Ticks and mosquitoes commonly bite during the summer, but with proper protection, some bites can be avoided. Here are some helpful tips to prevent bug bites this summer.
- A variety of insect repellents are available, but they only work if you use them! Repellents containing DEET are currently the gold standard. DEET has been studied the most and is the single most effective ingredient to prevent insect bites. Just be sure to avoid applying these over open cuts or wounds.
- For those looking for a more natural option, there are several non-DEET repellents. Look for products that contain ingredients like lemon eucalyptus, geranium, soybean, or citronella oils. While not quite as effective as DEET, they certainly offer high-quality protection.
- If you're applying sunscreen during the day, make sure not to apply bug repellent at the same time. Apply your sunscreen first, then wait 20 minutes before applying bug repellent. Putting them on together can make DEET penetrate your skin at too-high levels.
- Besides using bug repellent, make smart clothing choices to help protect yourself from bites. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants provide physical barriers to insects. Light colors are a better choice than dark ones because you can more easily see if a bug is on your clothing. Finally, if you are out in a tick-prone area, remember to put your clothing in the dryer for 10 minutes to kill any ticks or nymphs that may have gotten onboard.