What Can I Do To Stop Getting Bitten?

Here in Florida various insects are part of our outdoor reality, particularly during warmer months and in more humid environments. We see many patients who have been bitten while doing yard work or even while going for a walk. What can we do to protect our skin while still being able to enjoy our favorite outdoor activities? In the October 2016 issue of Practical Dermatology, Dr. Jerome Goddard shares his advice.
  1. Be mindful – if you know there are certain locations or times during the day where insects will be prevalent, try to avoid them. Stay clear of marshy areas or patches of higher grass, for example.
  2. Cover up – our temperatures can certainly heat up quickly, but the very best way to prevent insects from biting is to reduce the amount of skin exposed to them. Long sleeves, long pants, closed shoes, and gloves create an essential layer of protection while working in the yard or garden.
  3. Repellents – A repellent with DEET as its active ingredient will provide good protection from insects. This type of repellent comes in many forms – stick, sprays and aerosols, even wipes. Dr. Goddard recommends a product that contains between 15-33% DEET. Anything higher than that has not been proven to be more effective. Using DEET products is safe, even for children, provided that you follow the label directions. Once indoors, washing off the repellent will limit your exposure to the chemical.
  4. Pesticides – Clothing can be specially treated with permethrin, a chemical derived from the chrysanthemum flower, to kill insects on contact. Treated clothing is available through various retailers and retains its efficacy for about a month. Remember though that even while wearing this clothing you will still need a repellent for any exposed skin.


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