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Summertime safety: Stings, bites, and bugs

Summertime safety: Stings, bites, and bugs

True or false: Bug spray should be applied and re-applied throughout the day. The answer is false; apply it once, and it'll last you the entire day. In fact, putting on too much could be dangerous.

You also need to pay attention to DEET, also known as N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide. The higher the percentage, the higher your chances of skin irritation, allergic reaction or poisoning.

When it comes to kids, Debi Forrest, from Florida's Poison Control Centers said you need to be extra careful.

"Apply it to your hands, not to the children's face, and apply it yourself to the child's face," said Debi. "Don't let them do it, because they tend to lick their lips, or they can spread it into their eyes and they get it into their mouths and such."

If it does get into your eyes or mouth, rinse the area with water.

Insect repellant doesn't guarantee you won't get bitten or stung by bugs. If you do get an itching, Debi said it's best to head to the kitchen.

"Make a paste of baking soda and water, mix it thick like a toothpaste consistency, and put it on the site," said Debi. "That's really soothing to the site."

For a snake bite, you will need to do more than that, but what you've heard likely isn't true. Don't try to suck the venom out, don't ice the bite and don't apply a tourniquet.

Those are old school remedies and can cause permanent tissue damage. Instead, Debi said to get to a hospital immediately.

"First of all, don't panic," said Debi. "Secondly, don't try to pick up the snake, don't try to retrieve the snake, if you can safely take a picture of the snake, that's absolutely OK, but don't feel like you have to bring the snake into the hospital with you or anything like that, that just risks getting bitten a second time."

Land critters are not the only ones we have to worry about.

Shark attacks are rare, but jellyfish stings are another story. Most of us have heard the old remedy: if you're stung, just urinate on it.

Not only is that gross, it's also a myth. Over the counter meds aside, Debi said the best pain reliever for a jellyfish sting is actually a condiment.

"Apply vinegar," said Debi. "You should always carry a spray bottle of vinegar with you to the beach because that's very soothing to it and it really helps to alleviate the sting."

If you don't have a bottle of vinegar, often times lifeguards have some on hand.

And if worse comes to worst, head to the nearest restaurant!

From mosquitoes to jellyfish, after a bite or sting, if you notice a rash, hives or swelling around the mouth or throat, get to an emergency room.

You can also call Florida Poison Control Centers at 1 (800) 222-1222. They have trained professionals to answer your questions around the clock.


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