Don't forget about those summer pests and harmful plants

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Expert advice by Soony Hall, PA-C Dermatology,Via Christi Clinic

Soony HallMosquitoes are rampant in the summer and can be the worst bugs for carrying diseases, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Use repellents containing DEET to protect yourself from mosquitoes and ticks. Look for specially formulated repellents containing a lower percentage of DEET for children to keep them protected, too. Clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants, can offer further protection.

Always check for ticks on your clothing and skin when coming indoors, even from your own backyard.

Protective clothing, including gloves — preferably vinyl — can also help minimize the risk of skin exposure and reactions to certain plants, says the academy. Avoid poisonous plants – remember the phrase, “leaves of three, let it be.” Also avoid plants with sharp hairs, spines or short prickles which can cause rashes and even infections.

Seek treatment for bug or insect bites if any of the following are present: fever, chills, night sweats, excessive pain, swelling, redness, discolored drainage and any dark red/black discoloration of the skin at the bite, says Soony Hall, PA-C, with Via Christi Clinic's Dermatology department.

You should seek treatment for plant-related conditions, if OTC medications — such as ibuprofen, antihistamines and steroid creams — don't work on plant-related skin conditions or if a rash spreads rapidly with drainage or seeping, she says.


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