Jennifer Layden, MD, infectious disease specialist at Loyola University Health System, said that mosquitoes and ticks are the two pests that people should primarily avoid because they potentially carry infectious diseases. While ticks can carry Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, mosquitoes can spread West Nile Virus.
Christina Hantsch, MD, toxicologist at Loyola added that common insect repellent products contain up to 30% DEET for maximum protection, and products with DEET provide longer duration protection as the concentration of DEET increases.
DEET and other insect repellents such as citronella are generally safe for individuals over 2 months of age.
Layden recommended that adults should administer insect repellent to children, as they can have a difficult time manipulating cans and bottles, and may end up inhaling repellent or getting it in mouths or eyes, which should be avoided.
She also said that clothing permethrin-treated fabric is a great option for those who are very active outdoors in the warm months and gave the following tips from on how to avoid bugs this summer:
Dusk and dawn are the prime hours for insects
Wear long sleeves and long pants to cover skin
Wear light colors which tend to not attract bugs
Wear loose clothing to avoid skin irritation
Signs that need medical attention include fever, vomiting, excessive sleepiness, swelling, redness and infection.
Hantsch said that calamine lotion is effective to take away the annoying itch of a mosquito bite, and one can use a tweezer for tick removal, as close to the entry of the skin as possible to get rid of the whole tick. Clean the bite area with an antiseptic and cover with a loose bandage.