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How can I Prevent Bug Bites?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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Preventing bug bites can be important, since insects are frequently vectors for disease. In particular, certain mosquitoes spread West Nile Virus, and some ticks are responsible for humans contracting Lyme disease. The Black Plague of the Middle Ages was caused by bites from fleas infesting rats carrying the disease. Not all bug bites will cause serious illness. In fact, most do not cause anything but discomfort and itchiness. However, safety dictates focusing on prevention to eliminate possible exposure to troubling illnesses.

The first line of defense against bug bites is to make certain one’s house is not harboring insects. Windows should not be opened if they are unscreened, and screens should be in good repair. Even small tears in screens can allow most small bugs to enter, increasing one’s chances of getting bug bites. Improperly fitting screens can also allow bug entry.

Dogs and cats should be given both flea and tick treatments, which have come a long way since early powders and sprays. Topical spot flea killers and oral flea and tick killers are available from most veterinarians. These products may require a once-a-month application, but will help keep your pet from becoming riddled with bug bites, and will thus also protect the human residents of the home. These products are considered safe to use around children, and pets are usually safe to be held and petted within a few hours after the application has dried.

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Eliminating any areas around the house that could harbor mosquitoes can also reduce the chance of bug bites. Mosquitoes commonly breed in standing water. Homeowners often don’t realize they have standing water in their yards. Look under plants, and any outdoor shelving to be sure no standing water exists. If one has man made ponds, one should introduce mosquito-eating fish to reduce bug population.

Even with prevention, one will still encounter bugs both outside and inside of one’s home. Bugs like mosquitoes are most often encountered just before sunrise and just after sunset. If possible, one should avoid outdoor activities during this time to reduce bug bites. If one does plan activities during these times, and many do as they are often the most pleasant hours of summer days, then one should wear protective clothing. Thick shirts with long sleeves, and long pants can help reduce mosquito bug bites.

Even thick clothing is often not enough of a preventative in bug bites. Some mosquitoes can drill right through clothing. In these cases, and for any outdoor activities, the use of DEET insect repellent is highly recommended. DEET is toxic, and should be used with caution on small children. However, risk frequently outweighs benefits, since younger children are particularly prone to more severe cases of West Nile Virus caused by bug bites.

One should wear long, light colored pants, as well as deep woods DEET when walking through heavy grasses. People are most susceptible to bug bites from ticks both in high grass and under trees. Ticks are often quite small, and one may not initially notice them. It is a good idea to check the cuffs of pants, socks and any other loose points of clothing for ticks that might potentially bite. Also check the body for attached ticks. Attached ticks should be removed carefully and sent to a lab to rule out Lyme disease.

It is impossible to prevent all bug bites, but observing the above recommendations may reduce the number of bug bites one gets. If one has bug bites that become intensely swollen or exhibit pus, one should bring these bites to the attention of a physician as they may indicate allergy or infection.

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Jessica123
Post 4

@Anon111033 Maybe you have sweet blood? Do you and maybe your family members don't have sweet blood? I'm just trying to help. I've got the same thing with sweet blood.

anon111033
Post 3

I've got the same questions. There's been a mosquito in the house for several days now. I'm only one of three people in the house, yet I'm the only one having problems. I've been bitten at least eight times and still can't get the thing. Does anyone know the answer to amyhaha's question?

amyhaha
Post 1

why do bugs bother some people more than others? i've had "sweet blood" for as long as i can remember, but lately i've been outdoors a lot and the bugs have been relentless. i put on bug spray, tried all different kinds, but unless you reapply every 15 minutes that is practically useless. sweat takes it right off, but it's not like it actually "repels" the bugs anyway.,,,,

hiking in long pants/sleeves is an option but i don't want to get heatstroke either! any suggestions?

i hike in a few different mid Atlantic states, and a lot of the bites are different; its not just mosquitoes getting me.. usually the bites don't show up until 2-3 days later.

is there anything i can do?? eat something that will keep them away? switch deodorants? i use citronella soap already...voodoo maybe?

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