Itchy, itchy summer

By Lisa  |  Thursday, September 1, 2011  |  , , , , , , ,  |  Leave comment

Increased poison ivy rashes and mosquitoes due to environmentIf you think that you are itching more this year, it is probably because you are. The very wet spring we had earlier this year created a healthy environment for plants to grow and bugs to thrive.

Among these healthy growing plants, of course, is poison ivy and oak. According to a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives the reason for the healthy growth of these monster sized poison plants is that there are higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere. From our experience, whenever we have a very wet spring poison ivy and poison oak plants seem to flourish. Whatever the reason, they are healthy and thriving.

Wet weather also brings on the mosquitoes. Humidity mixed with summer heat provides the perfect environment for them to live. If you have been enjoying the outdoors and you feel like you have more bug bites, it's probably because you do.

So how do you stay itch free? Here are some tips to avoid these summer pests:

  • Learn how to identify poison ivy and oak so you can try to avoid the plants. See our poison plant identification page for reference images.
  • Wash with a cleanser, like Tecnu, upon returning indoors to remove any poison plant oil, called urushiol, from your skin. Remember to clean any gear, pets or clothing that may have come in contact with the plants.
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET to repel biting and stinging insects. The percentage of DEET necessary depends on the length of time you will be exposed outdoors. A general rule is for every 10% of DEET, you will get 1 hour of protection. See our insect repellent information page.
  • Avoid being outdoors at dusk when insects, like mosquitoes, are most active and avoid areas with standing water where they thrive.
  • If you are walking through a wooded area, or area with tall grasses, wear a long sleeve shirt and tuck your pants into your socks to keep the insects out.
  • Use fewer scented products when you will be outdoors as some insects are drawn toward fragrances.
  • If you do get a rash or insect bite, don't scratch. Use a topical OTC product like Calagel or Corticool to stop the itch. Scratching can cause breaks in the skin which can lead to skin infections.

How do you avoid these pests during the summer? Feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Anti-itch products

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