Yeah, yeah, mosquitoes and other bitey, stingy things will go more for others than you. But, eventually, you'll get yours....trust me.
Up until recently I've been fairly bite free. For whatever reason, mosquitoes and the such just seemed to leave me alone.
So confident and arrogant had I become that I would taunt the little bleeders to come get some.
I'd leave windows open, lights on and sleep nude (that's my right, deal with the imagery).
But something happened around 18 months ago, call it entering middle age if you like. Since then, since my metabolism changed...or maybe my constitution, I am now a mecca for Mozzies.
I'd never been stung by a bee or a wasp until my mid-30's and then, like the proverbial bus, I got stung twice in three days and again this year in Florida. An event which, I kid you not, prompted me to say the most ridiculous thing to a lifeguard (thankfully my sons were out of earshot).
I can barely bring myself to type this...
I said, 'Excuse me sir (I am polite at all times), I've been stung by a bee.' I had, in the queue before we got on a fairly fast slide/flume.
The lifeguard was unmoved. 'And, are you allergic?'
I did not know if I was allergic. 'I do not know if I am allergic.'
'Have you ever been stung before?'
I had been stung before. 'Yes!'
'No, on your body, where were you stung?'
'Oh, yes, of course, sorry. Inside my thigh.'
'Does it hurt?'
It did. A lot. 'A little bit...tell me, are bees and wasps more deadly in America?' This was a genuine question but as soon as I said it, I wished I hadn't.
The lifeguard frowned. 'You'll be fine.'
I was. But the sting hurt till the next day.
Here's a few things that should help with the prevention and treatment of creepy crawly bites and stings (EU domestic):
Do - mosquitoes usually bite a lot in post rainy season and in summers, so wear longer clothes when hiking. I know it may seem counter-productive to be 'warmer' on a summer trek, but a tick bouncing on to cloth rather than sweet, sticky skin, is more likely to jump right back off again.
Don't - use Lemon Eucalyptus on young kids. It's an irritant in itself.
Do - use nets for outdoor eating/sleeping etc etc and esp over strollers and pushchairs.
Don't - aerosol sprays in pressurized containers. You’ll inhale chemicals, and you could get sprayed in the eyes.
Do - ensure you read the label properly of any creams/sprays/lotions.
Don't - Take the time of day for granted. Evenings are always happy for mosquitoes. They often bite people during that time of the day. It will always be better if you could avoid leaving the house or visiting a park between 6:30pm to 7:30pm.
Do - know your location, you maybe be using blockers for completely the wrong type of bug.
Don't - leave standing water - Water usually collect in small holes and dents especially in the rains and after snowfalls, also in the bird baths, planters and wading pools. Make sure you change your pet’s water bowl frequently and drain all the unwanted water from unwanted places.
Do - use fans (where possible) this can make it harder for mosquitoes to fly.
Don't - rely on high-tech traps. They're effective only in a small area.
Do - use products in lotion, pump or towelette form so as to avoid getting in mouth and eyes.
Don't - use outdoor “fogger” insecticides. They contain more toxic ingredients than repellents applied to skin. Repellent candles. They may not be effective. They emit fumes that could trigger respiratory problems.
Do - check for ticks thoroughly after returning indoors and remove ticks properly.
Don't - as one woman in Mertesdorf (Trier) did, hang your swimsuit to dry from a tree infested with poisonous oak processionary caterpillars.
Do - Wash clothing and repellent-coated skin when your kids come indoors or at the end of the day.
Don't - Repellent mixed with sunscreen. If you reapply the sunscreen every two hours, as advised, you will overexpose yourself to repellent.
Don't - use bug zappers and treated wristbands - experts suggest they are not worth the investment.
Do - wash the area thoroughly (the skin that is, not the environmental - awfully good of you but....well)
Don't - much like the advice regarding feeding Gremlins after midnight, don't scratch a mosquito bite (YES, we KONW you WILL), this will spread and inflame the bite. Making it worse. If you must do something - tap or slap the bite, which will momentarily pause the itchy feeling.
Do - apply some sort of cream. Hydrocortisone for example. This should lessen inflammation.
Do - For a bee sting, remove the stinger by gently scratching the skin with your fingernail or a straight-edged object, such as a credit card. Don’t use tweezers so as to avoid squeezing more venom into the skin.
Do - apply ice. Like with sports injuries and burns, it can reduce swelling.
Do - after being clear you have no allergies to them, take antihistamine.
Do - consult a doctor if symptoms persist, swelling increases, the infected area is generally uncomfortable.
- Grasp the tick’s mouthparts against the skin, using pointed tweezers.
- Be patient; the long mouthpart is covered with barbs, so removing it can be difficult and time consuming.
- Pull steadily without twisting until you can ease the tick head straight out of the skin.
- DO NOT pull back sharply; this may tear the mouthparts from the body of the tick and leave them embedded in the skin.
- If this happens, don’t panic! Embedded mouthparts do not transmit Lyme disease.
- DO NOT squeeze or crush the body of the tick; this may force infected body fluids from the tick into the skin.
- DO NOT apply substances such as petroleum jelly, nail polish, or a lighted match to the tick while it is attached. They may agitate the tick and force more infected fluid into the skin.
- Once you have removed the tick, wash the wound site and your hands with soap and water, and apply rubbing alcohol or antiseptic to the site.
- Observe the bite site over the next two weeks for any signs of an expanding red rash or flu-like symptoms.
Onions: The juice from a fresh onion may provide relief — as long as you don’t mind shedding a few tears in the process!
Spoon: Believe it or not, many people find that applying a warm spoon to the affected area can alleviate the itch and discomfort.
Toothpaste: applying toothpaste to the affected area will relieve the itch on contact.
Baking Soda: Baking soda is an alkaline-based product that can neutralize the pH in the skin. This can promote the bite healing process.
Basil: The oils in basil contain chemicals– such as camphor – which will create a cooling feeling when applied to the skin.
Alcohol: Don’t go running for a gin and tonic, we’re talking about applying rubbing alcohol to clean the area! BUT did you know the gin and tonic was created in the early 19thcentury to combat and prevent the mosquito-borne illness Malaria? Quinine, the ingredient that fights malaria, was very bitter – so officers in the British East India Tea Company took to adding water, lime, sugar and gin to make the necessary medication more palatable.