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Avoiding Bug Bites: The ABCs of Prevention

Avoiding Bug Bites: The ABCs of Prevention

June 1, 2022
By Erin Trombley

If you’ve already read the companion to this blog, “New York’s Most UN-Wanted: 3 Bugs to Avoid” you’ve already learned about the various diseases three common New York bugs can transfer. Right now you might be saying to yourself, “You know what? I’ll just stay inside this summer!”

Before you cancel your summer plans, let’s review some simple steps you can take to reduce run-ins with these pesky pests: The ABCs of prevention.

  • Avoid. If you can, stay away from places where these critters hang out or eliminate conditions they like. If you’re hiking, consider dry, sunny areas with plenty of air circulation, and a wide trail. When paddling, avoid weedy areas and the edge of the river or lake. In your yard, keep grass low, eliminate standing water, and clear underbrush that can prevent air circulation and hide bugs. Finally, keep moving – air movement around your body prevents flying bugs from landing on you too.
  • Bug repellant. You can purchase garments made to repel bugs or prevent bites, or treat your clothing with permethrin, which is extremely effective against ticks, mosquitoes, black flies, and more. For topical application, consider products that contain picaridin, IR3535, or DEET. Always follow the application instructions for the product you’re using. Smoke from a campfire or grill can repel or disorient bugs as well. And as an added measure, drop sweet, fruity scents bugs love from your laundry and personal care routines.
  • Cover up. The best defense is a good offense. When going into a buggy area, or planning to be outdoors for a long time, cover your skin by wearing a long-sleeve shirt tucked into pants, pants tucked into socks or gaiters, and closed-toe shoes. For extra black fly protection, add a bug net hat and wear light-colored clothing.

AFTERCARE

After any outing, remove and wash outer clothing, do a visual check for bites or bugs on the skin, and shower. Washing black fly and mosquito bites will help prevent infection and remove bug repellant from your skin. If any ticks are crawling on you, there’s a good chance they can be washed away if you wash thoroughly soon after exposure.

With ticks, it’s important to always do a full check of your body for any that may have latched on. Pay special attention to these hotspots where ticks prefer to hide and bite. And, of course, don’t forget to check your pets for hitchhikers too!

If you or your furry family member find a tick that’s already embedded, follow the CDC guidance provided here for removal and wound care.

Now that you know how to prepare and protect yourself, get out there and have a great summer!

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