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Tips to prevent bug bites and enjoy your time outdoors this summer

Tue July 5, 2011

DUPAGE COUNTY-The best way to avoid becoming ill with West Nile virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease or other mosquito-borne or tick-borne illness is to avoid mosquito and tick bites.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe throughout the summer:


Mosquitoes

  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
  • Use insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions.  Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

Ticks

  • While in locations where ticks may be common, apply permethrin tick repellent, but only to clothing and only according to the directions on the label.
  • Tuck long pants into your socks and boots. Wearing light-colored pants makes ticks easier to see.  Wear a head covering or hat for added protection. 
  • In areas where there are ticks, check yourself, children and other family members every two to three hours for ticks.
  • Remove any tick promptly.  Do not try to burn the tick with a match or cover it with petroleum jelly or nail polish.  Do not use bare hands.  The best way to remove a tick is to grasp it with fine-point tweezers as close to the skin as possible and gently, but firmly, pull it straight out.  Do not twist or jerk the tick.  If tweezers are not available, grasp the tick with a piece of cloth or whatever can be used as a barrier between your fingers and the tick.  Ticks can be safely disposed of by placing them in a container of soapy water or alcohol, sticking them to tape or flushing them down the toilet.
  • Wash the bite area and your hands thoroughly with soap and water; apply an antiseptic to the bite site. If you experience a rash that looks like a bull's-eye, or a rash anywhere on the body or an unexplained illness accompanied by fever following a tick bite, consult your doctor.
  • If you let your pets outdoors, check them often for ticks.  Ticks can "hitch a ride" on your pets, but fall off in your home before they feed.

If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to bites or stings in the past you should carry an allergy kit prescribed by a doctor. If you don't have one, talk to your doctor about getting one. Learn how and when to use it, and keep it with you at all times.

Please call 911 immediately if you are having chest pains, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding, sudden weakness of numbness, or if you think you have a medical emergency.

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Tips to prevent bug bites and enjoy your time outdoors this summer