SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The wet spring in KELOLAND has invited pesky friends to stay for summer.
Mosquitoes are thriving thanks to the standing water left behind, and they’re not the only pests you have to worry about.
Debra Tramp enjoys the outdoors, especially gardening. Before tending to her plants, she puts on a lot of bug repellent.
“I try and douse myself, like with bug spray because the gnats are so annoying for me and they are everywhere,” Tramp said.
Lewis Drug pharmacist Courtney Feist says she has noticed a surplus of gnats this summer, but those aren’t the only insects you should protect yourself from. She says ticks may be carrying Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and mosquitoes may be carrying West Nile.
“So West Nile Virus often people don’t even have symptoms but if you do it might be like flu-like symptoms, a fever. Same kind of with those other, the Lyme disease, so a rash, fever, upset stomach. So watching out for those types of things and going into the doctor,” Feist said.
To avoid the bites, she suggests not going outside at dawn or dusk, as well as staying away from standing water. If you must be outdoors, Feist says bug repellent may be your best bet.
Pharmacists recommend choosing a bug repellent that contains 10 to 35 percent of DEET for everyday activities.
But even with those precautions you may still wind up with a bite or two.
Luckily, Feist says you have options.
“With insect bites, a topical over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can be applied to those. You don’t want to use it for more then seven days without kind of talking to your doctor. But those can help with the itchiness, the swelling, that type of thing,” Feist said.
For more severe cases she suggests an oral antihistamine. And while we all know it’s nearly impossible to avoid scratching, Feist says breaking the skin will put you at a higher risk for infection.
“Make sure you’re doing your best to keep them from itching those; I know it’s hard. Keeping them clean, washing off the bug spray when you get inside. All of those are good measures,” Feist said.
If you are worried about a bug bite, Feist suggests going to your doctor or pharmacist.
For more information on fighting off the bugs, click here.