How to Avoid Stings and Bites
There’s no doubt about it, at some point during the camping season, most people get bit or stung a few times by bees, wasps, mosquitoes, etc. Bites from certain insects can cause various diseases to humans including Lyme disease, West Nile, malaria, and yellow fever. Some are easier to treat than others but they are not something you want to risk exposing yourself or your family to if you can prevent it. Here are a few tips on how to avoid stings and bug bites this summer.
The one thing all doctors will tell you when asked about the best way to keep from getting bug bites is to use an insect repellent containing DEET. It is an ingredient used in many over-the-counter insect repellents sold in drug stores today. Once at your campsite, spray onto clothing and any exposed skin every 3 to 4 hours, or as recommended by the label. Not to worry, they even make some insect repellents that don’t smell like you walked through a mist of a thousand perfumes.
Over–the-counter sprays with DEET not only work to repel mosquitoes, but they can also be used to repel ticks. Heavily wooded areas or areas near lakes and streams are feeding grounds for ticks. Make sure to wear light colored clothing if you are camping in the woods or near bodies of water; dark colored ticks are best spotted against light colored clothing. Also, wear long pants and tuck them into your socks to keep the ticks from crawling up into your clothes. It may not be the most fashionable way to dress but it’s one less are you’ll have to check.
The best way to remove a tick if you do get one is to use tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull gently upward until the tick releases its grip on the skin. Do not try to yank the tick out or burn it out with a match. This will cause the tick to tighten its grip rather than loosen it.
Hornets and bees can also be a pest when camping. Many people’s first instinct is to swat and kill a bee that comes near them. This is not a good idea. Swatting at them can anger them and cause them to want to defend themselves against its “Attacker”. If you crush or kill a bee or hornet, most release a pheromone that other bees can smell and attracts them to the area, leading to more than just one bee you will be dealing with.
If you encounter a bee hive or nest, leave it alone! Bees are very protective of their hives and will swarm and defend if they feel threatened. If you accidentally stumbled upon one and disturb it, quickly vacate the area. Bees lose interest once their hive is no longer threatened and will not likely follow you.
If you do happen to get stung, quickly remove the stinger with tweezers. Hornets and wasps usually don’t leave a stinger because they are smooth and will slip right out of your skin once stung. Bees however have a more rigid stinger and will stick into your skin and continue to release “venom” which causes the itchy red bump to form. Once the stinger is removed, apply an anti-itch cream or take an antihistamine such as Benadryl to relieve the itching and swelling. If you are allergic to bees, get to the nearest phone to call for help, if it’s severe enough, or drive yourself to the nearest hospital or clinic if it’s a mild reaction. Either way, if you do not feel right; notice swelling in areas other than around the sting, especially in the face, neck or throat; seek emergency help immediately. Taking a Benadryl will slow down the swelling process but will still need to be treated as soon as possible.
Knowing how your body reacts to stings and bites ahead of your camping trip will better prepare you to deal with the incidences as they occur, but it’s better to prepare yourself in case you have someone with you that has an allergic reaction that never had one before.
You can pick up any of these bug repellent solutions or any other camping accessories in the parts store at United RV Center in Fort Worth, TX. Stop on down and pick up all your essentials for your next camping trip.