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It’s that time of year again…Summer
The short and dark days of ice, sleet and snow, are a distant memory. Replaced now, with warmer, longer days…or, if you live where I do; painfully long days, where the temperature is in the high 70s already at 6:00 in the morning. And while that doesn’t sound bad, the humidity is also at 9,000%, so the moment you step outside, you know what it feels like to have several large men, sitting on your chest.
This isn’t exactly the kind of weather you want to be in, or even have your kids outside in, but, you’ve been stuck with them inside for the past 6 months, listening to them complain about it being too cold, and they’re too bored, and there’s nothing to do, and can we watch more TV, and…OMG, JUST GO OUTSIDE!!!
But this brings up another problem with this time of year where I live. Even if, the weather cooperates, and you aren’t stuck inside, with your head shoved so close to your air conditioner that it drowns out all sense of life around you…because anything to not hear your kids complain about one more thing; and you actually get to enjoy some time out, possibly sitting by the pool, watching your children act like the feral mongrels they are…you have now become prime targets for the inevitable attack of, summer time pests. And no, I’m not talking about other kids.
Yes, I too find it hard to believe there are creatures on this Earth, so annoying, that they can share the title of pests along side children, but there are. In fact, it might even be fair to say that these creatures are part of the reason kids become so whining while spending time outside during the summer months. Of course I’m talking about pests like mosquitoes, spiders, ticks, fleas and every other creepy-crawler that’s are looking to ruin your time outside.
Living in the Washington DC area, it feels like…You know how some people really hate the word MOIST? If you’re one of those people; you know that feeling you have right now..when I said MOIST, or whenever someone says MOIST? Well, imagine that, and then imagine someone took you, shoved you in a bag and threw in a ten tons of mosquitoes, tied the bag shut, and continued to yell MOIST, until you went insane. Sounds awesome…right? Oh, and just one more time…
Alright, I know I’m being a little tough on my kids in this post, but, it’s been a tough summer, and we still have at least month to go before school starts again, so cut me some slack. Just to show you I’m not all bitter energy when it comes to my little heathens, I’m going to share with you, my Dad Battle Plan, to keep my kiddos safe and pest free during summer outings.
Lucky for me, it turns out, I’m not mosquitoes’ brand of snack. I rarely ever get bitten when out and about. My kids, however; are not so lucky. They inherited their mother’s nectar of the gods version of blood. Their blood to mosquitoes are like milkshakes to the boys…that’s right, they’re all coming to the yard.
Tip 1 – Apply bug spray least 15-20 minutes before going out
Much like sunscreen, applying bug spray to child is going probably complete your daily workout. Don’t be surprised if your fitbit blows up after attempting this.
Look, I get it – putting on bug spray kind of sucks. I don’t like it any more than my kids do, but I’m also a lot smarter than they are, so I use it. In fact, now more than ever putting on insect replant is vital as the CDC has reported that illness due to mosquitoes, ticks and fleas, as tripled since 2004. That’s scary right there. I may make fun of my kids a lot, but I’m not letting some bug take them out…that’s my job.
Tip 2 – Make sure your kids are dressed appropriately…to spot ticks and other pests that is
Look, we all know you’d have better luck guessing the winning lottery numbers that getting kids to listen when you’re telling them what they should be wearing, and why. If you do happen to get your kids to listen, and actually follow what you said…well, first off, congratulations, and second, teach me your secrets. But third, and most importantly, get them to wear light colored clothing. It makes spotting insects, like ticks and spider, much easier
Or, you could go with an outfit like this. Pretty sure I can spot any insect at this point.
Tip 3 – What to do if a mosquito bite occurs
If you’ve ever been bitten a mosquito, you know that thing is going to itch like crazy. And what do we always say to other people who are itching? That’s right…”Don’t scratch.” Try telling that to 6yo. They’re going to scratch until they’ve cut through their own arm, like they’re trying to escape from a Saw movie plot. This is where I put my son’s fascination with band-aids to good use. Cover the bite with a band-aid, that way they can’t itch it constantly, and kids see band-aids as a symbol of don’t touch.
Make sure never to reapply insect repellent on to a bit, or open scratch. Only put repellent on healthy skin. It’s rare that you’ll have to take your kid to see a doctor for a bug bite, but make sure to keep an eye on it. Increased redness or pain may signify a secondary infection.
Tip 4 – Ticks get in on the action too
Mosquitoes aren’t the only pest out there looking for a snack; ticks are too. There’s so much misinformation out there on what to do if you getting bitten by a tick, that’s it really important that parents stay up to date on how to handle/treat tick bites. Especially since the odds of a tick transmitting Lyme disease is rather high. If you find a tick on you, or your child, the first thing to do is stay calm. No need to freak out in front of your child and make things worse. If the tick has already bitten you or your child, you’re going to want to remove it immediately. This is where a lot of the misinformation comes in. People think you need to tear the tick off, or just wait until you get home to take it off. Neither of those are correct. What you need to do is remove the tick immediately, with a pair of fine tip tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the base of the skin as possible, and pull in an upward motion with consistent pressure. After removal, you’re going to want to clean the entire area with either alcohol, iodine, or even soap and water.
You’re probably thinking, “Wait, what? Fine-tipped tweezers? Alcohol swabs and iodine? Who do you think I am, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman?” First off, 90s reference (HOLLA!!!), and secondly, that brings me to my final tip…
Tip 5 – Not having the right tool, just makes you a tool. Pack a first aid kit
All throughout this post, I’ve brought up different tools to use while out and about with your kids during the summer. And we didn’t even touch on falls, scrapes, bumps and bruise. I mean, the list goes on and on. So, why not be prepared the best way you know how. Pack a basic first aid kit for long outings. You never know when you’ll need it.
Check out this video from the awesome people at KnowYourOTCs.org on packing a proper kit. And remember, be prepared for every pest you encounter…especially the ones you live with.