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Insect Bites and Stings and Spider Bites - Prevention

Take the following measures to help prevent bites and stings.

  • Apply insect repellent before going into the woods or other areas where you may come in contact with insects. Use insect repellents according to directions, particularly when applying repellent to children.
    • Apply repellents safely.
    • Use a lower-concentration repellent on children.
    • Do not put repellent on small children's hands, since they often put their hands in their mouths.
    • Wash the insect repellent off with soap and water after returning indoors.
  • Wear light-colored, smooth-finished clothes that cover your body, such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Button long sleeves and tuck long pants inside boots. Avoid loose clothes that might entangle a biting or stinging insect. Avoid bright colors. Avoid going barefooted or wearing sandals outdoors. Some outdoor stores may sell clothing treated with a repellent.
  • Avoid wearing perfumed lotions, aftershave, or scented hair products during the warm months.
  • Take positive steps to manage your surroundings.
    • Always close car windows.
    • Do not put your picnic out until you are ready to eat. Repack picnic food as soon as you are finished serving.
    • Avoid flowering plants.
    • If you have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to insect bites or stings, have someone else mow lawns or clip hedges.
  • Avoid swatting at insects or flailing your arms around them. Instead, retreat slowly and calmly when insects act threatening.

Additional measures include those to:

If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to bites or stings in the past:

  • Talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for epinephrine. Learn how and when to give yourself an epinephrine shot, and have it near you at all times.
  • Wear a medical identification tag to let others know you have an insect allergy.
  • Discuss allergy shots (immunotherapy) with your doctor. Shots may be appropriate to control and prevent your symptoms.
    Allergies: Should I Have Allergy Shots for Insect Sting Allergies?

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: February 06, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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