With summer here, it’s time to get outside and enjoy nature. However, outdoor fun can also mean dealing with bug bites.

Unfortunately, not only can insect bites make you itchy and uncomfortable, they can also increase your risk of certain illnesses. These include Lyme disease from ticks and West Nile Virus from mosquitos. That growing disease risk means it’s important for you to be sure you and your family have adequate protection. 

Preventing Bug Bites

When it comes to staying safe from bugs, the best approach is prevention.

For ticks, preventive measures should include: 

  • Wearing light-colored clothing that includes long sleeves and pant cuffs tucked into socks
  • Avoiding areas of high grass and bushes, especially where populated with deer, mice, and other tick-bearing wildlife 
  • Checking everyone — including children and pets — after any woodland excursions
  • Using a repellent, such as rose geranium or lavender essential oil 

For mosquitos, preventive measures should include:

  • Using an insect deterrent such as peppermint or lemon eucalyptus essential oil
  • Covering up with long sleeves and pants when outdoors, especially during late afternoon and evening 
  • Avoiding areas with standing water (and not allowing standing water to accumulate near you) 

However, even when you’re careful and take proper precautions, bites can happen. 

When It’s More Than “Just a Bite”

It’s important to recognize certain crucial signs following a bug bite. 

If you experience any of these symptoms after a mosquito bite, seek medical help:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash
  • Muscle soreness

For tick bites, be on the alert for:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Facial paralysis
  • Arthritis

While ticks and mosquitos are the most common culprits, there are other insects to have on your radar, such as fleas, horseflies, and midges. Taking measures to avoid insect bites is always recommended. Even if you aren’t aware of a bite, you should never ignore any of the aforementioned symptoms after spending time outdoors.