The outdoors are great for your health. Fresh air and sunlight boost your mood, while hiking trails and walking paths provide room for you to walk or run. However, you may encounter several irritants during your time spent outside, in particular, mosquitoes and ticks. While mosquito bites are generally harmless, if aggravating, there are certain cases when medical attention is necessary. Here are some ways to protect yourself against mosquito and tick bites when you’re spending time outdoors, as well as strategies for how to deal with a bite.
Prevention is the best way to avoid being bitten
To keep you and your family from being bitten by mosquitoes and ticks, make your backyard an unpleasant environment for them. Keep it dry and free of pools of standing water, and allow for plenty of sunlight. When you go into nature, wear long sleeves and a hat to reduce the amount of exposed skin. If you have a particularly severe infestation, you can hire a pest control company to take care of it. Pest control services generally range from $134 to $198, on average.
How mosquitoes locate you
It is important to know how mosquitoes and ticks locate you. Mosquitoes favor damp environments and areas with standing water. Only the female mosquito bites. She can smell the carbon dioxide released as you breathe from as far as 150 feet away, then seeks out a piece of exposed skin where she can access your blood. The swelling and itchiness associated with mosquito bites are caused by the enzymes they release when they first bite you. For most people, the bites only swell to the size of a dime and last a day at most, but people who are more sensitive may experience significantly larger, longer-lasting bites.
What to do when you’re bitten by a mosquito
If you get bitten by a mosquito, stay calm. Don’t start itching the bite - that will only make the itching worse while extending the time the swelling lasts. Instead, lightly wash the spot with soap and warm water. If the swelling is particularly bad, you can use a soothing cream, like calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream, which can help control the swelling while cooling the skin and making it feel less itchy. There are also a number of natural remedies that may be able to help you, like a warm compress, ice cubes, and apple cider vinegar.
How ticks locate you
Ticks, like mosquitoes, prefer damp environments but also like to be in areas with thick brush or tightly packed trees. Ticks won’t seek you out; instead, they climb up trees and tall grasses, as well as other structures, like a backyard playhouse. Once in place, they wait patiently for a potential host to arrive, which they can detect based on carbon dioxide emission, like mosquitoes, but also changes in temperature. When the time is right, they either drop onto your skin or dash from their hiding place when they sense movement.
What to do when you’re bitten by a tick
If a tick bites you, or if you see one on a loved one, carefully remove it with a pair of tweezers, without squeezing. Treat the bite in a similar way as you would a mosquito bite to bring the swelling down. However, ticks can carry many different forms of bacteria, as well as Lyme disease, so the best thing to do once you’ve been bitten is visit the doctor to make sure nothing harmful has been passed to you.
If you’re going to be spending time outside, it’s important to learn how to deal with ticks and mosquitoes. By taking a few preventative measures, keeping your yard dry and free of standing water, and knowing how to treat a bite, you can keep yourself and your family safe.
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Author a Yorkie Lover!