Summer months mean more time outdoors and more exposure to bugs, bees, pests and plants that can cause some unexpected reactions. Lyme disease, which is carried by ticks, is on the rise in most areas, and mosquitos carrying West Nile virus pose a threat as well. When in the woods, kids and their parents should wear long sleeves and long pants, and tuck pants into socks for extra protection. Ticks can remain on clothing and climb onto skin later, so make sure to carefully check kids and clothing when they come inside. If a tick is found, carefully remove it and watch the area for the telltale bulls-eye rash that may indicate Lyme. Avoid wasp and other flying insect’s nests, and learn what plants like poison ivy and poison oak look like so you can avoid them.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using repellants for preventing Lyme disease and West Nile virus. A repellent with DEET can be used on skin and clothing; for those averse to using chemical repellants, those made with permethrin (a plant-derived substance) or essential oils can be used. Be sure to use caution and follow product instructions when using any repellant.