Skip to Content

Keeping Bugs at Bay this Fourth of July

Mosquitoes, bees, spiders and the rest of the insect world love summer just as much as we do. Not all bugs are harmful, but some can carry disease. To help us stay protected from their bite while celebrating the Fourth of July and beyond, the use of repellent sprays are recommended.

“Now more than ever, it’s important to make sure your loved ones are protected from pesky pests while enjoying the outdoors,” explains Kurt Wagner, M.D., Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Palos Community Hospital. “While using a bug repellent really helps to keep bugs at bay, we also recommend people wear long sleeves and pants, avoid wearing perfumes, scented soaps and lotions, and avoid areas of standing water, which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.”

Follow these tips from the Illinois Poison Control for safe use and application of insect repellents:
  • Be sure to use the product as directed on the label.
  • Keep repellents locked out of sight and reach of children.
  • Don’t let children handle the bottles.
  • Do not use on wounds or broken skin.
  • When using sprays, do not spray directly onto the face. Spray it into your hands, and then apply to face to avoid getting it into the eyes.
  • Concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) have been shown to be safe for use on children older than 2 months. Picaridin is another effective insect repellent.

Most stings or bites will usually cause a red, itchy or painful bump and can be treated at home, but poisonous or venomous species can cause severe reactions and may need medical attention. Call 9-1-1 if symptoms of a severe allergic reaction are present. Those warning signs include difficulty breathing or wheezing, hoarseness or cough with rapid onset, previous severe life-threatening allergic reaction to same insect bite, difficulty swallowing or slurred speech and confused thinking or talking.

The Emergency Department at Palos Community Hospital is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you and your family in the event of an emergency.