December 20, 2014
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Seasonal Health

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How to prevent insect bites and stings

Bites and stings are easily preventable if you plan ahead before going outdoors. Here's a list of the do's and don'ts to keep you safe from biting or stinging insects.

What to do:

  • Dress in light-coloured clothing. Insects tend to be attracted to dark or floral-pattern clothing. Light colours also make it easier to spot ticks and get rid of them before they burrow into the skin.
  • Cover up when you are going out, especially during dawn and dusk. Tuck in clothing so that your skin isn't exposed and wear a hat.
  • Be cautious if you're leaving sweet beverages or food outside, as this can attract bees.
  • If you've had a serious allergic reaction to bites or stings, be sure to wear a medical alert bracelet and inform those around you about your allergy. Always have an epinephrine* pen with you in case of emergency.
  • Apply an insect repellent or use mosquito nets

What not to do:

  • Don't wear perfume, hairsprays or other scented products that might attract insects.
  • Don't use electric devices like bug "zappers" or ultrasonic devices – these don't work.
  • Don't use citrosa houseplants or burn citronella candles – these might help deter mosquitoes, but it won't get rid of them completely.
  • Don't take vitamin B1 orally.

*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.


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