Summer is all about having fun in the sun, but time spent outdoors means that you are exposed to all sorts of creepy crawlies and buzzing insects. Bugs shouldn’t discourage you from being outside, but you should be on the lookout for certain pests because they can carry disease or make you ill after they bite you.
Ticks, mosquitos, and other stinging insects can cause paranoia about your time spent outdoors. You may even start itching for no reason! There’s no need to freak out about anything because there are ways that you can keep yourself protected. First off, familiarize yourself with the specific insects that occupy your area. Many irritants or allergens can simulate a bug bite, so make sure you can identify the bites of kissing bugs, ticks, wasps, or mosquitos.
Belonging to the arachnid family, ticks are found in various places across the United States. They have been known to carry the Powassan virus and Lyme disease, which can be transmitted from a single bite. Different ticks can carry different germs or viruses, depending on region in which you live. Protect yourself by wearing long pants and long sleeves, even though if it’s hot outside. When you return from your outdoor activity, especially if you were hiking, inspect your body, even your scalp, for ticks and remove them immediately. Make sure that you remove the entire tick because you don’t want to leave the head attached.
Summer without mosquitos just wouldn’t be a normal summer, much to many peoples’ dismay. There are over 3,000 varieties of mosquitos around the world, and their bites are always itchy. Some people are allergic to mosquitos and small, inflamed bites can turn into large welts that take days to reduce. Mosquitos can carry malaria, Zika, West Nile virus, or Japanese encephalitis, but the disease that mosquitos carry will depend on the region they occupy. A lot of mosquito bites can occasionally result in low-grade fever or fatigue. Take preventative measures by applying this DIY Mosquito Repellent, or light these candles around your home to keep mosquitos away.
Mosquitos and ticks bite, while wasps, bees, hornets, and yellow jackets sting, especially during the late summer months. These insects typically steer clear of humans and build their nests away from the heavy foot traffic, but know that they will happily visit you when a picnic is in progress. They are checking out the spread and they really enjoy sweet fruit, so keep your food covered to prevent stinging bugs from buzzing around your picnic. You will only get stung if these bugs feel threatened, but a random sting can occur. If you have severe allergies to any of these bugs, take the right precautions if you are spending time outside.
Kissing bugs are common in Central and South America, but they have been identified in 28 states across the United States. Don’t be fooled by the sweet name; these bugs love to bite sleeping humans around the eyes and mouth, and their excrement can be quite dangerous. They are capable of transmitting the parasite known as Trypanosoma cruzi through their feces. Contracting this parasite has been associated with a heart illness known as Chagas disease.
Remember the bubonic plague that swept through Europe, Africa, and Asia in the Middle Ages, killing about 50 million people as a result? Fleas were responsible, and they can still carry it because an estimated 650 cases from around the world are reported each year. Treatment options have dramatically decreased the risk of death to a mere 10%. Fleas, specifically cat fleas, can harbor pathogens that can lead to a Bartonella infection. Cat scratch fever is a real thing, not just an amazing song by Ted Nugent. When bitten by fleas, people commonly become itchy, annoyed, and can develop allergies.
One more thing to remember is to check your pets, provided you have them, for different insects upon returning home. Ticks or fleas can easily latch onto your pets and make their way into your house. Take time to inspect your pets so that your home remains a safe zone.