After a fun day at the pool or just being with friends, nothing can ruin the day like an annoying mosquito or tick bite. Your skin protection won’t work as an insect repellent, so be sure to keep some on hand and treat bites quickly to avoid infection.
It may seem like a good idea, but avoid using combination sunscreen/bug spray. Sunscreen should be applied every few hours but insect repellent does not need to be reapplied.
There are many different kinds of insect repellent, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends products that have at least one of the following active ingredients:
- IR 3535
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus
Both the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that you not use DEET on children younger than two months old, and use 10-30 percent DEET on older children. Ten percent DEET provides protection for about two hours and 30 percent protects for about five hours. Choose the lowest concentration that will provide the coverage you need. Be sure you read the labels to find out how much product is in the repellent. The DEET alternative, Picaridin can be found in concentrations of five to ten percent.
If you are outside for a long period of time, in addition to avoiding mosquitoes, you should also remember to check for ticks. Most tick bites are harmless but be sure to remove ticks properly and wash the area, as well as your hands, after removal. Because some ticks carry diseases, it is best to note when you found the tick and monitor yourself or your child for illness. Tick bites are typically painless so they may be attached several days before you notice them. Protect yourself and your loved ones from tick bites by wearing longer sleeves and tucking your pants into your socks in wooded areas.
Insect bites to an allergic child can cause severe symptoms requiring emergency treatment. If you have an emergency
, be sure to go to an emergency room and not an urgent care clinic to ensure proper coverage. Urgent care coverage
depends on your plan. You can also call the TRICARE Nurse Advice Line at 1-800-874-2273, option 1. By calling the Nurse Advice Line you can talk to a registered nurse who can give you healthcare advice, help you find a doctor or schedule a next-day appointment at a military hospital or clinic. There are even pediatric nurses who can assist you and will call you back to check on your child.
There’s still a lot of summer left to enjoy. Don’t let summer bugs spoil your fun. For more information about bug safety and the proper removal of ticks, go to the web page From Insects or Animals
on the AAP website. This site, as well as the CDC website
, offers additional summer safety tips