Spring marks the beginning of housecleaning, luscious gardens and, of course, bugs. If you struggle to prevent bugs from biting you this spring, find out how to reduce the symptoms of common bug bites. Whether you’re getting ready for your spring break vacation or playing with your family in the backyard, here are some important tips to stay safe and comfortable this spring.
Common Signs of Insect Bites
There are many signs of a bite that you need to watch out for. Most bites you’ll encounter only produce minor symptoms, but some can carry dangerous diseases. All bites from bugs cause a few distinctive marks, but most will leave you with one or more of the following symptoms:
- A swollen, puffy or hard bump
- Itchiness and scratching
- Single marks or distinctive clusters
- Moderate or severe pain
These are the most common signs, which are typically minor irritations. Although uncomfortable, many mosquito, ant, tick, and other insect bites may not pose a great risk of disease. However, bug bites can also cause many viral infections and diseases, such as West Nile virus, malaria, and Zika.
Fortunately, you can take positive actions to help avoid insect bites. In order to prevent these common and uncommon symptoms this spring, take a few of these steps to ensure a safer, happier experience outdoors:
- Plan your vacation accordingly: Keep up-to-date on the latest international outbreaks with the CDC Travel Notices. These updates will give you an idea of any additional symptoms to watch for and insect bites to prevent.
- Choose the right insect repellent: Not all repellents are equally effective. Insect repellent that contains 20 to 30% DEET is more effective at preventing bug bites. Apply it to your clothes and exposed skin while being careful not to get any in your mouth or eyes.
- Find the right gear: Whether walking across your yard or camping all weekend, consider the proper attire for your trip. As long as the spring weather is mild enough for long sleeves, consider outer layers that cover as much skin as possible. Choose proper camping gear, such as a net, for protection while camping.
If you discover a particular travel concern from the CDC, you may find additional advice on preventing those particular insects. Your climate and local insect population may also make certain prevention strategies more effective.
Treating Common Symptoms
Even with all the prevention strategies, it’s difficult to avoid all bites. Because there are three basic symptoms (swelling, itchiness, and pain), here are three effective ways to reduce the effects of bug bites:
- Use an ice pack to reduce swelling
- Choose hydrocortisone or other anti-itch creams for itchiness treatment
- Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce pain
These temporary treatment options should alleviate your discomfort, but if the symptoms remain or worsen, it’s time for specialized, professional care. Prompt treatment can be critical in the event of a more serious virus or disease.
If you’re experiencing an unusual skin reaction due to a bug bite or would like more information on prevention strategies, contact us today. At Windsor Dermatology, our board-certified dermatologists provide the latest treatment options for a personalized, professional treatment plan. Don’t let a few insects or uncomfortable bug bites stop you from enjoying the outdoors this spring.