Prevention and treatment options for bug bites and poison ivy this summer

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With the summertime, comes increased outdoor activity, as well as increased exposure to things such as poison ivy and bug bites.

The majority of Americans are allergic to poison ivy; however, there are things we can do to prevent it from coming into contact with our skin, such as:

1. Knowing how to identify the plant - poison ivy has a cluster of three leaves at the end of a long stem. Hairy vines that you often see growing up the side of trees are also poison ivy.

2. Wearing gloves, long sleeves and pants if you are working outside, and washing them immediately after use.

Bug bites can also be quite the nuisance, and in some cases, quite dangerous. Tick bites, in particular, can cause serious health conditions such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.

To prevent tick bites, wear bug repellent spray containing at least 25 percent DEET when spending time outdoors.

In most cases, bug bites and poison ivy rashes can be treated at home using cold compresses and/or hydrocortisone cream to help with the itching.

However, if a rash from poison ivy lasts more than three weeks or if you begin experiencing high fever, achiness, a rash, fatigue and/or headache within a month of a tick bite, you need to seek medical attention.

Fortunately, Cone Health has an exceptional network of urgent care facilities throughout the area, from Kernersville to Mebane, dedicated to providing proper treatment to patients who have experienced a common summertime injury or health condition.

Spokesperson Background:
Dr. Laura Murray is an urgent care specialist at Mebane Urgent Care at Mebane Medical Park.

Dr. Murray received her Doctor of Medicine from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine in 1994. She completed her residency in internal medicine at The Ohio State University Department of Internal Medicine in 1997.