10:13 AM

Keep mosquitoes and ticks from bugging you this summer

The sun is shining, kids are playing … and the bugs are biting. Welcome to summertime in the Lehigh Valley, where insect populations soar to annoying heights.

Many bugs, such as fireflies, are harmless. But other insects, including ticks and mosquitoes, can pose health threats to people.

“Ticks and mosquitoes are the top two to avoid because they can spread diseases to humans,” says Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) pediatrician Amil Qureshi, DO, with LVPG Pediatrics. “These serious illnesses include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and West Nile virus.”

Spray bugs away

Take action before your family ventures into the buggy world by applying an insect repellent. “Look for active ingredients, such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or 2% soybean oil,” Qureshi says.

Use these do’s and don’ts to apply bug spray properly:

  • Don’t apply bug spray to the eyes, nose or mouth.

  • Do follow the product label’s instructions carefully.

  • Don’t use bug spray on an open wound or irritated skin.

  • Do put repellant on your own hands, then apply to a child’s face and neck.

  • Don’t use bug spray on babies who are younger than 2 months old.

Tips for ticks

To foil ticks, another approach is needed.

“An insecticide called permethrin kills ticks on contact. It should not, however, be applied to the skin,” Qureshi says. “Instead, spray the permethrin on clothing, as well as on grass or play areas.” This product may last through washing, so follow manufacturer’s instructions regarding when you need to reapply to clothes.

If you are taking your kids on a hike through a wooded or tall grass area:

  • Wear pants and socks that go above the ankles

  • Pick light-colored clothing so if a tick gets on you or your child, you will notice it

Above all, don’t let bugs keep you trapped in the house.

“As long as you take some preventive action, you can enjoy the outdoors without fear of insect interference,” Qureshi says.

To learn more about pediatric care or find a pediatrician, call 888-402-LVHN.