Tips to avoid bites and stings

The best way to deal with bug bites and stings is to try to avoid them in the first place. Here are some tips:

  • Cover up: If you're outdoors in places where there are a lot of insects and bugs, especially ticks, tiny bugs that stick to your skin and suck your blood, wear long sleeves, long pants and long socks. Wear boots, if you have them, and tuck your pants into them, your socks or your shoes.
  • Check your skin: When you go inside, check your skin for ticks, including in your hair, under your arms, in and around your ears, in and around your belly button, at the back of your knees, between your legs and around your waist.
  • Stay away from buggy areas: Keep away from insect hangouts, like flowers, trees, bushes, and piles of wood. If you hike or camp in the woods, stay on the path or in clearings, and try not to brush up against the trees and other plants.
  • Spray away: Have a grown-up use special sprays and lotions to keep bugs away from your skin and clothes before you go outside.
  • Don't panic: What should you do if you are surrounded by a swarm of insects or a bee is buzzing around you? Keep calm.  Hold your arms still and walk away slowly. Do not wave your arms or try to shoo the insects away. This will scare them and they might decide to attack you.
  • Leave their home alone: Never poke a stick or throw anything at a wasp's or bee's nest. If you find a nest on the ground, don't touch it. If you do, the insects will attack. If you see insects' nests or spiders' webs near your home or yard, tell your mom, dad or another adult so they can get rid of them.
  • Don't invite them for dinner: Don't eat or drink near bugs. If you're having a barbecue or picnic, cover up the food. Insects love food smells, especially when the food is sweet.
  • Don't smell too good: Insects don't just like the smell of food, they also come running or flying when they smell perfumes, lotions, and creams. Be sure to use sunscreen that doesn't smell good to insects.
  • Screen them out: Keep the windows closed in your car and house, or use window screens on your house to keep the insects out.

Next: Treating bites and stings