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Published on June 15, 2018

Bug Off! Avoid Bug Bites this Summer

Warmer weather means more time outdoors enjoying the sunshine. Unfortunately, other creatures enjoy this season as much as we do: mosquitoes and ticks. A new report from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that vector-borne diseases—illnesses transmitted by blood- feeding insects—are becoming a greater health problem in the US, with reported cases more than tripling since 2004.

“People are concerned about illnesses like Lyme disease, West Nile and Zika,” said Dr. George Borrelli, M.D. “Your best defense is a good offense: using an EPA-approved insect repellent, wearing light colored clothing that covers arms and legs, and avoiding densely wooded areas and areas with standing water can all help.”

Tips for preventing tick and mosquito bites:

  • Use window and door screens at home
  • Wear light colored clothes
  • Remove areas of standing water whenever possible
  • Cover arms and legs outdoors; wear closed-toe shoes and socks
  • Follow safety precautions on insect repellents
  • Avoid wooded areas with high grass
  • Walk in the center of trails    
  • Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET; always follow product instructions
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors
  • Check for ticks on all areas of the body after coming inside from infested areas, especially in and around ears and in hair
  • Check pets for ticks
  • Dry clothes worn outside in dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks.
  • See your health care provider if you experience a rash and/or flu-like symptoms, including aches and pains and a low-grade fever or headache. The sooner you address vector borne illnesses the better.

Severe allergic reactions to bug bites and stings are possible. Call 9-1-1 if you or a loved one experience difficulty breathing or wheezing, hoarseness or cough with rapid onset, difficulty swallowing, slurred speech or confusion.

Palos Hospital’s Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you and your family in the event of an emergency.