No matter how much care you take when you are outdoors, insect bites and stings are sometimes unavoidable. Hot summer weather and long days spent outside are the perfect combination for bug bites. But it may be difficult to figure out which type of bug was responsible. Here are some of the more common insects that cause bites and stings:
Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are typically found near water and are attracted to bright colors and sweat. When a mosquito bites, the tell-tale sign is a small, red, itchy mound with a tiny puncture mark near the center. The West Nile virus is spread through bites from infected mosquitoes.
There is no vaccine available to prevent West Nile virus, so it is important to avoid mosquito bites by:
Bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets: These insects are usually found near flowers, shrubs, picnic areas, or beaches. Their stings usually result in immediate pain, swelling, redness, and itching. The two greatest risks from most insect stings are allergic reactions and infections.
Contact your COPC physician if: the pain/itching doesn’t stop, you see signs of infection (increased redness, warmth, swelling, and fluid leaking), or you develop a fever.
You can reduce the possibility of stings by:
Ticks: Ticks are found in wooded areas and may be hidden in hair or on skin. Once a tick bites, it needs to be removed carefully with tweezers. Lyme disease is an infection that is caused by tick bites. To learn about this disease and how you can prevent it, click here.
For more information about treating insect bites and stings, we highly encourage you to speak with your COPC healthcare provider.
During the summer when people trade in their jackets and jeans for flip flops and bathing suits, more skin is exposed to the sun's harmful UV rays. From heat-related illnesses to eye damage, it's important to be proactive and take precautions.
Eye damage: During the summer, your exposure to UV radiation is much higher. UV is an invisible form of radiation from sunlight. Overexposure to UV-A and UV-B radiation causes damage to the skin and eyes. You can damage the surface of your eyes in the same way you can get sunburned—with just one exposure to one reflection of extremely bright sunlight. Exposure to sunlight over years can lead to vision loss from cataracts or macular degeneration. Precautions you can take include:
Heat-related illnesses: When the days get hotter, keeping close tabs on your health becomes especially critical. Knowing how to beat the heat and recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses will help keep you and your family healthy! Three of the most common types of heat-related illnesses are:
To learn more about heat-related illnesses, contact your COPC physician or click here.
When you're having a barbecue or picnic, be sure you don't invite foodborne illnesses caused by salmonella bacteria. Salmonella-caused illness (salmonellosis) is most common during the summer months because of warm temperatures, delayed refrigeration, and the types of foods people enjoy in the summer.
You can reduce your risk of foodborne illness by:
Call your COPC healthcare provider if you think you or someone else has salmonellosis. The symptoms include: diarrhea and a fever over 101.5 degrees F, dehydration, bloody stools, diarrhea that lasts three or more days, and prolonged vomiting without being able to keep liquids down.