🔵 How to treat mosquito bites and how to address tick bites

🔵 Over the counter or home remedies work more often than you may think

🔵 Depending on the severity or reaction, you may need to see a doctor immediately


You don't have to quite batten down the hatches with the warm weather here and mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects and bugs settling in around here, but, there are some things you can do to stay protected from them.

Dr. Swapnil Patel, Deputy Chief of Internal Medicine at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, says you want to avoid very wooded areas especially those with high grass, but, if you are out there's a few things you can do.

"You want to avoid the very deeply wooded areas with a lot of long grass," Dr. Patel said. "If you are out, we recommend you wear protective long clothing that protects your arms and legs especially for children."

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Another helpful tip is something that many people do now and that's use 'bug spray' or insect repellent, but there's more preventative steps you can take as well.

"You want to use protective mosquito netting in areas where there are mosquitoes, especially, if you have a kid, you want to use it on your baby strollers and carries," Dr. Patel said.

There's also another preventative step you can take to protect yourself.

"You can use the .5 percent permethrin cream or the spray to apply to the clothing and gear and you can also buy the pre-treated clothing and gear if you're going to go out in areas where you may potentially have exposure," Dr. Patel said.

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Mosquito bites leave many of us in a non-stop state of itching and scratching, but for others there may be more of a reaction.

For normal itching from a mosquito bite, Dr. Patel, says use a topical steroid cream, like Benadryl.

"It controls the itchiness in the area," Dr. Patel said.

For a more severe or widespread reaction, see your doctor.

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With the warmer weather here, mosquitos and other insects are bound to bring you an unsolicited encounter.

If they do, there's some home remedies or over the counter type medication you can try to address the itching and other possible reactions from an insect bite.

"You want to wash it with your soap and water that you have at home, if you have swelling or anything in the area -- typically, if you want to cool it, you can use an ice pack or a cold pack," Dr. Patel said.

He adds that you can also use topical creams like calamine for the itching or things like aloe vera, equally useful for sunburns and bug bites.

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If you were bitten by a tick, be sure to properly remove it.

"You want to use tweezers to grasp it and get it as close to the skin as possible and then pull upwards with a steady even pressure," Dr. Patel said. "You don't want to twist or jerk the tick, otherwise, some of the parts especially the parts latched onto the skin can kind of remain in the skin and then it can still cause a problem."

While not all tick bites require medication or a doctor's visit, there are some situations where going to your doctor or the hospital is necessary.

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"Some of the situations that would cause you to seek out medical attention or potentially go to the hospital -- if you start experiencing fever or chills, if you have a headache, if you start experiencing severe fatigue -- that's different immediately after the bite -- muscle pain, joint pain, or a rash that you see," Dr. Patel said.

If you get any of those symptoms, Dr. Patel, recommends you contact your doctor and inform them of things like your travel history, if you've been hiking or camping, so that they can try and figure out what's causing the symptoms and how to treat it.

"You can still continue to have these symptoms a few days later, after the bite, so you want to make sure you're keeping an eye on these symptoms," Dr. Patel said.

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