Whether it’s a trip to the tropics or just plain summer vacation, along with the sun, surf, sand are the bugs. To combat the sting and keep your family safe, follow a few simple tips:
1. Plan ahead with plenty of bug repellent; you’ll need it most at dawn and dusk. If your child squirms at being sprayed, try "Don't Bug Me", an all-natural waterproof patch. This DEET-free product spreads vitamin B1 throughout your pores, releasing an odor that is undetectable by humans, but keeps unwanted insects at bay.
2. Sit near a fan when lounging on a patio or near open windows and doors. Many bugs, including mosquitoes, aren't strong enough to fly against the wind and onto your arm for a snack.
3. Dress for success. Bugs can bite through tight fitting clothing, so opt for comfortable, loose gear. For added protection, try pants, safari shirts, socks, and hats made by “Buzz Off” with toxins that kill pests on contact.
4. If you forget the repellent and your family's legs resemble a roadmap of bumps and splotches, try some old-fashioned remedies. Apply a warm, damp, used teabag to prevent swelling; vinegar to soothe stinging and itching; and a dollop of toothpaste to dry out the bite.
5. Most importantly, don't let the kids scratch! This will make the bite worse and can lead to infection. Make sure your family’s fingernails are short and tidy before your vacation to prevent irritating future bites. And remember that while itching is a nuisance, malaria affects only a small number of people each year.
For more information, check out the Center for Disease Control’s health guide at www.cdc.gov
. Read more about pediatric health travel from Doc Holiday at www.familytravelforum.com
.SUSAN FINCH is associate editor of Family Travel Forum Inc.