DO outsmart the bugs. Wear light-colored, breathable clothing—you’ll be less attractive to bees, which like bright colors. Light colors also make it easier to spot ticks. If you’re planning to be outside for an extended time, spray your clothes, not your skin, with a bug repellent that contains DEET. If you are stung or plagued with insect bites, ice the swollen area, says Meredith Barbour, MD, a family physician at Duke Primary Care Brier Creek. An over-the-counter antihistamine will help reduce the swelling and the itching.
DON’T ignore your body’s warning signs. If a sting or a bite is serious, your body will let you know fairly quickly. Hives, facial swelling, or trouble breathing may signal a severe allergic reaction and require immediate medical care. If you know you’re prone to a severe allergic reaction, carry an epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen). If you develop a rash or a fever after a tick bite, see your health care practitioner, as it may be a sign of Rocky Mountain spotted fever or lyme disease.