Easy tips you can use to avoid insect bites and stings

For infections spread by insect bites and stings, avoiding exposure is the best way to prevent disease.

We have an influenza vaccine and scientists are hard at work developing one for coronavirus. For infections spread by insect bites and stings, avoiding exposure is the best way to prevent disease.

 

 

Insect bites and stings cause 3 types of problems-

local skin reaction

A local reaction at the site of the bite. This can range from mild redness, swelling and itching to a deep wound that may get infected.

The young girl depicted here, sustained a number of insect bites about her upper back. Note how these vesicular lesions resembled what was initially thought to be a case of chickenpox, caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV). credit CDC/ K.L. Herrmann,public domain

systemic reaction

A systemic reaction means symptoms in multiple organs of the body. This could include nausea, vomiting, trouble breathing, dizziness, muscle aches , headache and anaphylaxis (life-threatening  allergic reaction). Bee and wasp stings can cause both local and systemic reactions.

An insect transmitted infection

We worry most about this one  (other than an anaphylaxis.) World wide, this is the most serious result of insect bites, leading to millions of illnesses and deaths. Malaria alone infects 200 million people, causing almost 500,000 deaths yearly.

Mosquitoes– bites can transmit malaria; Zika , chikungunya, dengue, West Nile,and yellow fever viruses

Ticks-bites transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, ehrlichiosis, and tularemia.

 

This photograph depicted two, Haemaphysalis longicornis  ticks, commonly known as the longhorned tick. The smaller of the two ticks on the left, was a nymph. The larger tick was an adult female. Males are rare. This tick can reproduce asexually. Note that the ticks had been placed atop a United States dime, in order to provide you with some sense of scale, as to the size of these small creatures. credit James Gathany/CDC
This image is in the public domain and thus free of any copyright restrictions

 

Preventing insect bites

  • wear long sleeve shirts and jackets
  • sleep under nets
  • be cautious when eating out of doors
  • remove sources of standing water
  • keep doors and windows closed, or install screens
  • apply insect repellents to skin or clothing

 

 

 

Insect repellents shown effective in  scientific studies.

(This section contains several affiliate links. They are here for your convenience and to support this blog. However, they do not indicate endorsement or advice to use.)

DEET- N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide

  • best documented effectiveness against mosquitoes and also repels ticks, chiggers, fleas, gnats ,and flies.
  • Safe for children over 2 months old
  • Considered safe in pregnancy
  • Apply sunscreen first, then apply DEET

Ultrathon Insect Repellent 2 oz (Pack of 2)

Picaridin

  • Protects against mosquitoes, ticks, flies, fleas, and chiggers
  • Safe for children
  • Safe in pregnancy
  • Better tolerated than DEET

Avon SSS Bug Guard Plus Picaridin Aerosol Spray 4 Oz.

IR3535

  • Works against mosquitoes, deer ticks, flies
  • Safe in pregnancy

Avon SKIN-SO-SOFT Bug Guard PLUS IR3535® Insect Repellent Moisturizing Lotion – SPF 30 Gentle Breeze, 4 oz

 

 Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus – p-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD)

  • Repels mosquitoes, flies, gnats
  • Less effective than DEET for ticks
  • Not for children less than 3 years old
  • Safe in pregnancy

Coleman Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, Deet Free Insect Repellent Spray Pump, 4 fl oz

 Permethrin

  • Repels and kills mosquitoes and ticks
  • Is applied to clothing, nets, tents and sleeping bags
  • No evidence of harm to children or in pregnancy

Coleman Gear and Clothing Permethrin Insect Repellent Aerosol, 6 Ounce

Citronella

  • Only effective against mosquitoes, not against ticks
  • Less effective than DEET

 

 

Essential oils

  • Obtained from clove, geraniol, patchouli
  • Limited and variable protection against mosquitoes

 

 

How we’re fighting malaria around the world

You can help the victims of malaria by donating to the Malaria Medicine Fund. Blessings International gives malaria medicine to medical teams free of charge to use while treating malaria patients all over the world. 100% of donations go to this cause.

Read more and donate at this link

Blessings is working to fight malaria, and you can help!

(Watercress Words endorses Blessings International but has no direct financial interest or connection. This is not a sponsored or affiliate link.)

 

Listen to an Apple Podcast where 2 Docs Talk about

Emerging Vector Borne Disease

A vector is an organism that carries and transmits disease. The term usually refers to insects, but humans and other animals can also be vectors.

exploring the HEART of disease prevention

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

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"faith, hope, love" each word written on a card, strung on a line with clothes pins
Lightstock.com graphic; find it at this link

Megan Briggs from Blessings International shares

5 spring health risks you need to prepare for now

With more hours of sunlight and warmer weather you may spend more time outdoors.While that may mean greater fitness from the physical activity, you will be at risk of several outdoor injuries. Be proactive and prevent warm weather ailments with these tips.

Remember it’s Spring forward to Daylight Savings Time

Most of the United States will change to Daylight Savings Time on Sunday March 8, 2020.

So you will either be going to bed an hour later than usual, or awakening an hour earlier.

sleep

Either way, your body will tell the difference until your sleep cycle adjusts; I know mine always does.  WebMD offers these tips to make the change easier.

If getting a good night’s sleep is a persistent problem for you, check out the information I shared in this post.

Expert advice to sleep well every night

 

Memory Foam Launch 250x250 Natural Bedding

We welcome the  first day of Spring, March 20,  in the northern hemisphere, with the occurrence of the vernal equinox.

This link to The Weather Channel explains what the vernal equinox means.

graphic of the earth explaining equinox and solstice
original source not known

 

With more hours of sunlight and warmer weather you may spend more time outdoors.While that may mean greater fitness from the physical activity, you will be at risk of several outdoor injuries. Be proactive and prevent warm weather ailments with these tips.

insect bites and stings

Protect yourself against mosquitoes and other insects.

5 insect repellents to keep you safe this summer

 

 

sun exposure

Protect your skin with  sunscreen while you’re outside.

(These are affiliate links placed here for your convenience. This blog can earn a commission from sales from these links. This does not imply endorsement of these products.)

 

blisters and other wounds

Protecting your feet.

Whether walking, jogging,  gardening, or sports, our feet can take a beating from outdoor activity.

You probably don’t worry much about blisters- until you get one. Then the pain can inhibit walking, or even  wearing a shoe.

At worst, blisters can become chronic wounds, get infected, and threaten limbs in susceptible persons like those with diabetes or poor blood flow.

Ways to prevent blisters include-

  • Proper fitting shoes, not too tight or too loose
  • Breaking shoes in before activity likely to cause a blister, like running, dancing, long walks, sports
  • Wearing absorbent cushioned socks, perhaps 2 pair together
  • Applying protective padding over pressure points on the feet. Even plain paper tape can accomplish this, according to this study published in the New York Times.

 

 

I own and wear several pairs of Skechers sports shoes. (affiliate link)

 

environmental allergies

What to do about seasonal allergies

Often called “hay fever”, allergic rhinitis doesn’t cause a fever but it can make us miserable with its characteristic symptoms-

  • runny nose, sneezing, congestion
diagram of the nose and sinuses
Allergies commonly affect the nose, throat, sinuses, ears, and eyes.
  • scratchy, itchy, or tickly throat
  • cough
  • ear itching and pressure
  • watery, itchy, red eyes
  • Even those  people who have these symptoms year round may have seasonal exacerbations, usually spring and fall.

    Here is information about allergy management from the American College of Allergy to discuss with your doctor.

    Seasonal Allergies

    exploring the HEART of health this spring

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                                  Dr. Aletha 

     

    5 spring health risks you need to prepare for now- watercresswords.com