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Insects bites can cause a variety of issues. Some such as swelling and irritation are mild. However, insect bites are also known to cause diseases. For instance, mosquitoes are known to spread illnesses such as malaria and the zika virus. Ticks, on the other hand, can cause Lyme disease. For this reason, you need to take measures to protect yourself and your children from insect bites.

Precautions to take to avoid insect bites

Mosquitoes are known to breed in stagnant water. To prevent mosquito breeding, always drain stagnant water near your home and keep containers that could hold water closed.

If you decide to go on a hike with your family, make sure to keep to the centre of your path and avoid bushy and wooded areas. By doing this, you will avoid ticks that could be in the bushes.

Another way to avoid getting bitten by insects is to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts when visiting areas with many insects. Minimising the amount of exposed skin will keep insects from biting you. You could also treat your clothes with 0.5% permethrin.

Another way to protect yourself is to do tick checks when you get home from hiking or camping trips. Do checks on your clothes, luggage and gear to find ticks and kill them. A shower could also help you get rid of unattached ticks.

Using insect repellents to avoid insect bites

Though insect repellents should be a last resort, they are very effective in preventing insect bites. If you need help finding an appropriate repellent for your situation, the Environmental Protection Agency has guidelines to help you decide.

A commonly used repellent is DEET (N, N- diethyl-meta-toluamide). DEET can protect against both tick and mosquito bites. A concentration of 10% will give you about 2 hours of protection, while a concentration of 30% will cover you for 5 hours. Never use more than 30% on children. DEET has side effects such as irritation and nausea and vomiting if ingested.

Another commonly used repellent is picaridin which protects better against mosquito bites than tick bites. Others are citronella and 2-undecanone. You should not use repellents on babies under two months.