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8 Tips for Avoiding Bug Bites This Summer

An allergist from Schweiger Dermatology shares advice for surviving a season of bugs


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Mosquitoes, ticks, and black flies are just some of the dreaded insects of summer. Ever wonder why mosquitoes find you to be “sweet meat” while others around you seem blissfully unaffected? That could be because you’re giving off more CO2. For example, if you’re exercising and producing more CO2 by panting, this attracts mosquitoes. Pregnant women also tend to get more bites for the same reason. According to Clifford Bassett, M.D., an allergist with Schweiger Dermatology, it’s also wise to avoid scented products, such as cologne and perfume because they can attract bugs, too. Before you forego venturing into the great outdoors (or your backyard), check out these tips from Bassett.

  1. Apply insect repellent. Read all instructions and insect spray product labels before using. Use just enough insect repellent to cover exposed skin. Never spray directly to your face. Apply first to hands and then apply to facial areas. Never apply to children’s fingers, hands, or near their mouth.
  2. Choose the correct concentration of DEET for your outdoor activity. The higher concentrations of active repellent will provide a longer duration of protection, and products with less than 10 percent active ingredient may offer only short and limited protection on adults and kids. American Academy of Dermatology has recommended a lower concentration of DEET-containing repellents for young children.
  3. Reapply insect repellent according to the label instructions.
  4. Some botanical oils, such as lemon and eucalyptus oils, can provide protection (although in most studies, they will not necessarily last as long as higher concentrations of DEET- containing repellents).
  5. Wear long sleeves and pants, especially when hiking. Wear socks and closed shoes. Be sure to tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks. Opt for light-colored clothing, as it’s easier to spot ticks. Pyrethrum may be applied to your clothing, shoes, jackets, etc.
  6. Do a tick check after exposure.
  7. Avoid being outside during twilight and in the evening, as this may reduce the day’s prime biting time periods.
  8. Wash insect repellent off when you come inside after exposure. After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water, or shower. Similarly, wash treated clothing before wearing again.
About The Author

Heather, co-founder of Well Defined and the former editor-in-chief of American Spa, is an award-winning journalist and content strategist, skilled in writing, copyediting, and media relations. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to Elite Traveler, Islands, Kiwi, Luxury Travel Advisor, Organic Spa, Porthole Cruise, Travel Agent,,,, and, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.