Health Watch - Biting: Preventing Insect Bites

Health Watch is a Public Service of the University News Bureau and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Summer is a peak season for bites of all kinds. This week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about a variety of bites and what you can do about them. Insects are more active in the summer, and that’s when many of us are outdoors more often, so we’re more likely to be bitten. There are some things you can do to protect yourself from bug bites.

One of the best ways to prevent bug bites is to wear long sleeves and long pants when you’re heading into deep woods or fields where you’re likely to encounter ticks, chiggers or other bugs. DEET is the most effective insect repellent, and it can be sprayed on clothing, but you should avoid putting it on children’s hands and faces. Infants should be protected with clothing and mosquito netting rather than with chemical insect repellents. Dr. Robin Carder, a dermatologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says “natural” insect repellents like citronella or soybean oil are generally considered safe, but they may not be as effective as chemical repellents.


July 2011

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