Bug Off: How to Deal with the Worst Part of Summer


By Hannah Woit

They say that in life, you have to take the good with the bad, and, along with all of the great parts of summer (Beach days! Sunshine! Vacation!), there’s one bad thing that comes back year after year… bugs.

As of right now, the most common products we reach for rely on DEET. The EPA says that it doesn’t pose a health risk to people of all ages, but a final decision on its latest review of the chemical is pending the completion of testing of its effects on the endocrine system.

Here are some tips to keep you bug-free this summer:

  1. The American Association of Dermatology says that if you are wearing sunscreen and bug repellent at the same time, you should put on your SPF first and wait for it to dry before applying the insect repellant.

  2. Although it might be tempting to opt for products with both SPF and bug repellent ingredients, it’s not worth the convenience in this case, as you should lather on sunscreen as much as possible, while bug repellant should be applied less liberally.

  3. Alternatives to DEET include Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. On the EPA website, you can search bug repellents by ingredient, which pests it repels, how long you need it to be effective for, and other factors.

  4. When you can, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

  5. Prevent mosquitoes from getting indoors by making sure that you use door and/or window screens.

  6. If you do get stung, how you deal with it depends on if it’s painful (think bee stings) or itchy (mosquito bites). If it’s a painful one, take a painkiller like ibuprofen. If it’s itching, try icing it and/or an anti-itch cream. You can also use ice if the bite is swelling.

  7. If you get a rash, start to run a fever, or feel achy after being bitten, call your doctor.

Hannah Woit