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How to prevent bug bites and stings this summer

Doctor offers tips

DETROIT – Summer is in full swing. That means bugs are biting and stinging.

A painful bee sting or itchy mosquito bite is a summer souvenir no one wants to have. Doctors say the time of day is important to help prevent bites, but you will want to keep certain supplies on hand, too.

Neha Vyas, a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic, says if possible, avoid being out when mosquitoes are most active.

You can also prevent bites by wearing insect repellent with DEET or by covering your skin by wearing pants and long-sleeved shirts. 

And while mosquito bites are more likely to occur at dawn and dusk be alert to flowers and plants where bees and wasps like to hang out.   

Bees often gather in trees. Wasps prefer hidden places like under decks or in crevices. If you get stung, a cold compress and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication can help ease the pain.

Try to remove the stinger right away using a sterile pair of tweezers. The longer a stinger stays in, the more of a reaction it will cause.

Most people can tolerate a mosquito bite or bee sting, but some people do have reactions that require immediate help.

"If you feel as though you're getting short of breath, or a tingling in your throat, or certainly swelling of your face or your lips or your tongue, or if you start to see some bumps, some red spots throughout your body, away from where you got bitten, it's important to seek medical attention immediately," said Vyas. 

Experts caution that if you know you're allergic to insect stings or bites, be sure to always carry your EpiPen with you.

Doctors say scratching bug bites increases the risk of infection, but applying ice, anti-itch creams or a Band-Aid can help reduce your urge to scratch.


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