A fact about enjoying summer outdoor recreation is the need to avoid insect bites that may cause unpleasant reactions and disease.
According to Dr. Wally Bigbee, a retired local physician, here are some tips on how to best avoid insect bites:
• Bites of ticks and chiggers can be decreased by avoiding contact with brush and tall weeds, as in bush whacking, and wearing clothing that has been treated with permethrin.
• The number of insect bites can be lessened by reducing the area of skin open to bites by wearing head cover, long-sleeved shirts and long pants and for ticks, with elastic bands at wrists and ankles.
• Painful deer fly and black fly bites to face and ears are best avoided by using a broad-brim hat with a web net.
• Since mosquitoes that bite only at night have been joined by ones that bite in the day and carry Zika virus, protection from them by use of chemical repellants is recommended.
“Because consumer protective laws have been gutted, there are many ineffective repellant products being advertised,” said Bigbee. “The website for the Centers for Disease Control shows four approved insect repellants and their duration of protection. Generally, the greater concentrations give longer protection, but only mild strengths should be used on children and reapplied each hour.”
Bigbee says products containing DEET, reported to have rare mild side effects, are readily available and are the most used in the United States. More widely used in Europe, Picardin products are more pleasant to use, safer and comparatively effective, Bigbee says.