Health News

Itching to stop big bites? 🙅

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning that diseases from blood-feeding fleas, ticks and mosquitoes has more than tripled since 2004. And with spring in full swing, Florida Hospital Centra Care physicians want families to take extra precautions as we spend more time outdoors.

Practice Prevention
Apply Repellent: When outdoors, use bug sprays that contain DEET. It’s most effective when it comes to preventing insect bites.
Cover Up: When possible, wear long sleeves and pants. Go the extra mile and tuck your pants into your socks.
Lighten Up: Light-colored clothing helps make it easier to spot a tick.
Stick to the Path: Because of the shade, ticks and fleas tend to thrive in shrubs and bushes. So when hiking, stay on the trails and the sunlight.
Check Yourself: After being in a wooded area, check the entire family for ticks.
Landscape: Give fleas and ticks less places to hide by keeping the lawn short and trim back shrubs. And remove all standing water from the yard. They’re the preferred breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Try as we may, bug bites do happen. And when they do, the bite ends up being that itch we just can’t scratch. Why? The body’s immune reaction to a bite is to release a chemical called histamine. That response is what’s responsible for the itch, bump and swelling to the area that was bitten. Although scratching can seem like it’s providing some relief, it actually does more harm than good.

Constant scratching can break the skin and lead to infection. Instead, here are some helpful tips to keep your kids from scratching:

1. Wash the area with soap and water
2. Use antihistamine (like Benadryl), or ibuprofen
3. Rub ice on the area that was bitten
4. Apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, aloe or calamine on the affected area