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Insect Bites (cont.)

Insect Bites Prevention

You can minimize your exposure to insect bites and stings by changing your patterns of activity or behavior.

  • Have a professional exterminator or hive keeper remove or destroy nest or hives of biting or stinging insects or bugs; do not attempt such actions by yourself.
  • Some vector mosquitoes are most active in twilight periods at dawn and dusk or in the evening, so avoid outdoor activity during these periods. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats to minimize the areas of exposed skin. Shirts should be tucked in.
  • Use insect repellants. Repellents applied to clothing, shoes, tents, mosquito nets, and other gear will enhance protection.
    • Permethrin-containing repellents (Permanone) are recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear. Permethrin is highly effective as an insecticide/acaricide (against ticks and mites) and as a repellent. Permethrin-treated clothing repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes, and other arthropods and retains this effect after repeated laundering. Such treated clothing is thought to pose little danger for poisoning to humans wearing it.
    • Repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide) as an active ingredient are recommended by most authorities. Formulations containing 30% DEET or less are recommended by some researchers because the additional gain in repellent effect with higher concentrations is not significant when weighed against the potential for toxicity, which include rare cases of encephalopathy (brain infection) in children. Follow the directions on the bottle or spray can to avoid toxicity to children and adults.

Insect Bites Prognosis

Most people respond well to home or emergency treatment for bug bites or stings. People with very severe allergic reactions or those who do not respond to initial treatment will often require hospital admission for further treatment and monitoring. A severe episode may be fatal in spite of appropriate medical treatment.

For people who get a disease transferred from insect/bug bites or stings, the outlook depends on the disease transmitted, how quickly it is diagnosed, appropriately treated and the overall health of the individual. Outlooks or prognoses of these diseases may vary from good to occasionally poor if organs are permanently damaged.

Medically reviewed by Joseph Palermo, DO; American Osteopathic Board Certified Internal Medicine

REFERENCES: Insects and Scorpions. Ticks. Fight the Bite for Protection from Malaria Guidelines for DEET Insect Repellent Use.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/20/2017

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