With the warm temperatures, the bright sun and all the activities that take place – summer is the perfect time to be outside. But, that means it is also the prime time to get an insect bite.

According to the CDC, nearly 44,000 cases of West Nile virus disease – which is found in mosquitoes – have been reported in the United States since 1999. A simple bite from a mosquito while playing outside could lead to you or your family member becoming sick with the West Nile virus.

Mosquitoes are not the only insect to look out for during the summer months – other insects, such as bees, ants, fleas, wasps and more will also bite or sting when provoked or distressed.

While insect bites are not 100% avoidable, even if you are inside, there are a few things that you can do to help prevent them:
  • Use insect repellent. Insect repellent is just like sunscreen, you simply buy a bottle and spray it on your exposed skin. The chemicals in the insect repellent will help ward off those little unwanted visitors. Check with your doctor before using it on your child though, most sprays are not recommended for babies younger than 2 months old.
  • Cover exposed skin, if possible. This can be tricky – if it is hot outside, you do not want to cover up completely because you will get too hot. But, on a cool summer night, if you are camping it could be beneficial to cover your exposed skin. Decide based on the temperature, your activity and how you feel. Remember, be careful not to overheat.
  • Avoid areas with an excessive insect population. Locations such as a highly wooded area with a pond full of still water nearby are going to harbor more insects than other areas. Be extra cautious in areas like these, and avoid them when possible.

You should always be aware of your surroundings in case you are to get an insect bite. Sometimes, if bitten, your doctor might need to know what bit you to determine the severity and possible outcomes. If you think you might have been bitten and are unsure what to do, a quick visit to your doctor is always a great idea.

If you or a family member experiences a severe reaction to an insect bite or an abscess or boil, visit a CityDoc clinic. Learn more about skin infections and insect bites.