The warm summer weather is great for spending time outside, but it also brings out all the bugs! Ticks and mosquitos can be a nuisance during the summer months, and in some cases, their bites can also lead to serious illness. Tick bites, in particular, can cause serious health conditions such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.
To prevent tick bites, wear long pants tucked into the socks and closed-toe shoes if spending time in wooded areas and do a full body check on yourself and your children after outdoor play. To help prevent mosquito bites, which is especially important in areas of the country with cases of Zika virus, you can:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are outside.
- Use insect repellants for the body and clothing.
If you find a tick, gently grab the head of the tick with tweezers and pull it away from your skin, then wash the area with soap and water. Make a note of what size the tick was, as it can indicate how long it has been there. A little redness is normal after you remove a tick, but 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.
In most cases, bug bites can be treated at home using cold compresses and/or hydrocortisone cream to help with the itching. If your symptoms persist, or you develop a fever or a new rash, contact your primary care physician right away. Fortunately, Cone Health has an exceptional network of healthcare providers dedicated to providing proper treatment to patients who have experienced a common summertime injury or health condition.
Dr. Orlando Conty is an urgent care specialist with Cone Health Urgent Care at MedCenter Mebane. Dr. Conty received his Bachelor of Science in microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He completed medical school at the University of Wisconsin Medical School and his residency in family medicine at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, WI.