Summertime brings fitness fans out of the house from coast-to-coast to enjoy outdoor runs, beach volleyball and more. It also brings more people into doctor’s offices with questions about mosquito bites and bee stings.
While some insect bites and stings aren’t a big deal and only require TLC you can administer at home, some can be potentially dangerous and require swift action and even a call to 911. Find out how to protect yourself from bug bites while getting your summer workout on and what are “normal” vs. “abnormal” bites:
- Remember where the bugs appear (or don’t, for that matter).
Most of us are aware of pesky bugs like bees and mosquitoes because they make themselves so obvious to us. That said, if you’re out hiking or running trails, be aware that bugs, like ticks, can be invisible, but are still lurking in tall grass and wooded areas
- Always wear protection.
Nothing interrupts a workout like smacking mosquitoes every two minutes so find a bug repellant you can wear that is sweat proof. You can also get one that includes DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. If you’re out in the woods or tall grass, wear long pants and socks that cover your ankles and even long sleeves. Also, don’t forget your sunglasses and hat. They not only protect you from the sun, but also from pesky bugs. Be sure to do a body check before hopping in the shower!
- Know what to watch out for: bad news bites!
For most of us, mosquito bites or bee stings are simply workout nuisances vs. a serious health issue, especially since these bugs are attracted to sweat. That said, there are times when bites can be abnormal and you’ll want to check in with a physician. Here are some normal vs. abnormal tips about bee stings and mosquito bites to keep in mind:
Normal mosquito bite:
They’re one of the most common bug bites of summer, and most of the time their bites just cause itchy red spots. The key is to avoid scratching as much as possible.
Abnormal mosquito bite:
Some mosquitoes carry West Nile virus, which can develop into a potentially serious infection. If you develop symptoms that include a stiff neck, muscle weakness, fever, headache, body aches, nausea or a rash on your torso, call the doctor.
Normal Bee Sting:
Unless you have an allergic condition, the bite and pain of bee stings are simply uncomfortable, but not serious.
Abnormal Bee Sting:
While it’s rare to suffer a bad allergic reaction to a bee, wasp, hornet, or jacket sting, it does happen. Some symptoms of an allergic reaction to these stings include swelling in the face or neck, feeling dizzy, and shortness of breath. If you experience these severe types of symptoms when you are stung by a bee you should immediately call 911 and if you have and are carrying an EpiPen use immediately. If the sting is more localized and not as severe, remove the stinger that the bee has left behind with tweezers as soon as possible. And then clean the area with soap and water and apply ice or a cold pack to reduce swelling.
Dr. Yael “Dr. V” Varnado is a Cornell-educated physician and a medical and health expert, known for her ability to deliver straight, relatable and relevant information on timely topics that matter most.
She is passionate about women’s health issues and teaching all those she reaches about preventative care, helping to stop heath problems before they start. Dr. V is the creator of the Live Right at Night Campaign focusing on women’s sexual and physical health and safety between the hours of 5 pm and 9 am.
She is also the founder of the Get Checked for Life non-profit that assists members of underserved communities, improving their quality of life by educating and giving them access to the necessary tools and medical resources. You can find Dr. V on Facebook and Twitter via @AskDrV and online at www.AskDoctorV.com