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Prevention and First Aid for Summer Pests


With lots of outdoor activities on the calendar, you will likely encounter those bothersome summer pests – mosquitos, spiders, snakes and ticks. We visited with Annabelle Jordan, pediatrics nurse practitioner at Covenant Southwest Medical Park urgent care, to find out how best to prevent and mitigate run-ins your family may have with these pervasive critters.

"During the summer months we see lots of different bug bites, bites that a lot of times parents don’t witness, so you just want to get it checked out, especially if you don’t know what it was" she says.

Here are some tips from Jordan regarding the specific type of bite:

  • Spider bites: Try to identify the spider. If you determine it’s a poisonous spider, specifically a brown recluse or black widow, you need to be seen by a care provider right away. Before you get to the hospital you can wash it with soap and water, use antibiotic ointment, cool compress, and elevate the extremity.
  • Snake bites: You want to get to the ER as quickly as possible. Again, try to identify it, but don’t spend any time trying to capture it or take pictures of it – you risk getting bit again. On the way to the hospital, keep the extremity (wherever the bite is) as still as possible; you don’t want to elevate it. Elevation and motion can cause the venom to spread faster throughout the body. If you’re unsure if it’s a poisonous snake or not, just go ahead and get checked, because you'll need to recieve anti-venom within four hours for it to be most effective. If you’re sure it wasn’t poisonous, you can just wash it with soap and water and watch for other symptoms.
  • Ticks: You definitely want to remove any tick you find on your or your child’s body. The longer it stays on you, the more you risk it passing on disease, especially if it’s been on you more than 24 hours. The best way to remove a tick is to take tweezers, grasp the tick around the head, and just use steady pressure to pull it out, that way it will release its grip. If, for some reason, part of it is left on the skin, you might want to be seen by a care provider right away so the rest of the tick can be removed.
  • Mosquitos: The best prevention is bug spray and protective clothing.

For overall prevention: Wear long protective clothing – long pants, long sleeves; and always apply bug spray. Especially with ticks, the longer they stay on you, the more dangerous they are, if you’re camping or hiking, you might do a tick check every three to four hours or so. Beware of dark places and dark corners when walking or reaching, as spiders and snakes like dark, shaded places.

This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please seek medical advice from your physician for any related medical condition. If you are in need of a primary care doctor, click here to find one in the Covenant Health network.

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