Spending time in the woods during the summer is a lot of fun! Biking, hiking, climbing rocks and trees while exploring can be some of the most fun you can have. While enjoying these activities, it’s important to take the proper precautions. Bug bites and poison ivy are just some of the hazards of spending time among the trees. It’s fun to explore, and it’s even more fun doing it safely! Be mindful of the following things:
-In June, July and August we see a massive spike in reported cases of Lyme disease from ticks.
-In 2013, there were 58.7 confirmed cases per 100,000 people.
-Ticks live in any grassy or wooded areas. You should wear a repellent when spending any length of time in those areas. Find the right one for you by clicking here.
-Soapy cotton balls are the best at-home removers of ticks. If that doesn’t work, go for the tweezers
-The best thing to do is still reduce skin contact while in woods. Wear longer clothing and boots to protect yourself. Additionally, once home, shower and wash off thoroughly while performing a quick scan for ticks. Make sure to check your hair as well by combing thoroughly.
-If you are bitten or start to see a red ring form around a bite get tested for Lyme disease right away! To learn more about treatments, visit the Stamford Hospital Infectious Diseases Division.
Poison ivy can be found in forests, parks, backyards, fields and other areas.
It takes very little contact to develop a reaction. Statistically, 80 to 90 percent of adults will develop a rash.
-You can avoid contact with poison ivy leaves by covering skin with clothing and staying out of high-grass areas.
-Remember the rhyme: “leaves of three, leave it be.” Poison ivy plants have leaf arrangements that are clustered in groups of three leaflets. It can grow on its own or among other vines, making it difficult to spot. If it looks like iffy stay away!
-If you know or think you’ve been exposed, there are several things you can do.
1) Wash off thoroughly with soap and cold water. (Warm water can spread infection.)
2) Apply calamine lotion or over-the-counter corticosteroid
3)If severe, your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid
-Home remedies for poison ivy from the Mayo Clinic:
-If needed you can take oral antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) to help you sleep better.
-Soak in a cool-water bath containing an oatmeal-based bath product
-Place cool, wet compresses on the affected area for 15 to 30 minutes several times a day to help alleviate itch and promote healing.
-Mosquitoes are most present in the summer months, and tend to come out more at dusk and in the evenings.
Mosquitoes actually prefer certain characteristics in the type of people they prey on. They prefer the following targets:
*Type O Blood, twice as much as Type A
*Carbon dioxide, making those that exhale more frequently (larger people) better targets.
*Substances expelled via sweat, such as lactic acid, uric acid and ammonia.
*Dark blue, black or red clothing
-Mosquito bites are itchy and painful, but what’s worse is the possibility that a mosquito bite is carrying a virus, such as West Nile.
-Most people infected with West Nile will have no symptoms.
Make sure to climb rocks and trees, explore the woods and exercise! Have a wild time in the woods, but be sure to stay protected. Ticks, poison ivy and mosquito bites will dampen any fun you are trying to have. Prior planning will result in a better time with your family and friends.