summer

Mosquito Bites

Mosquitos are my least favorite part of summer. As such I wanted to share with you my techniques for managing to share the summer with them. I realize that this blog post might read more like a list than a piece of writing but hopefully it is helpful to you. 

First a video (this is what it looks like when a mosquito bites you!)

Wow that is kind of a little nightmare. 

But its easy to see now why after a mosquito pokes around searching for a vein why your skin gets irritated.

Okay step 1 prevention 

In the evening stay away from stagnant water. It is the breeding ground for mosquitos. 

When you can long sleeves and long pants. If they are tight around the ankles and wrists they will do a fine job of creating a physical barrier between you and them :)

I wish I could say that there was an easy way to prevent mosquitos. I can't honestly say that there is. Now I am not a big fan of DEET. But I will say that if you are in a place where the mosquitos are bad - DEET is a surefire guarantee. Although as we know it is not the best for your body.

So If you can live with reduced bites what else is there? 

Citronella Candles- although not 100% they work fairly well at keeping some of the skeeters down. 

Geraniol oil and lemon eucalyptus sprays. You can apply them to any exposed skin. These are what you will find in your most common 'natural' anti mosquito spray. They work fairly well but require regular application. 

If you are out camping a mosquito net does exactly what it should do when used properly. Keep mosquitos out with a physical barrier. Doesn't get much better than that! 

I have mixed feelings about the anti-mosquito wrist bands. But I will tell you I still use them in conjecture with the other preventative methods. 

So despite all of that you have gotten bit- and it itches and you want it to stop. 

For severe cases I use the hydrocortisone anti itch cream at the pharmacy. It works. 

I also make a thick paste with baking soda and apply it to the bite. I have read discussions about baking sodas ph and neutralizing the bite. But the science is still out on that. Just leave it on until it dries and reapply. For some people this is more effective than others.

I also have had great success using the rind and juice of a lemon and applying it to bites. And aloe is also a great way to soothe the bite and bring the heat out of it. 

baking soda + water on a bite

baking soda + water on a bite

Some of my cohorts have suggested chewing up some plantain into a paste ( not the banana like fruit but the weed in your garden) and applying it to your bite with great success. 

And for a little further reading here is what the CDC says about insect repellants. 

Don't let the skeeters deter you from enjoying the summer. And apply your repellant before your sunscreen! Hopefully you find some of these tools useful. 

Summer Sun!

Madison Beach beginning of Summer 2015

Madison Beach beginning of Summer 2015

Ahhhhh.... finally after the long darkness we have sunlight until nearly 10pm. We have hours after work that can be spent relaxing outdoors or exercising outdoors or having dinner outside. Every year I am immensely grateful to recognize all the extra life the sun gives. 

With all this extra life I know how easy it is to overdue it. Especially in the beginning of the summer it is the easiest for us to get sunburnt. It is said it takes only 15 minutes of high exposure to burn. The UV index you can find here for your region to give you an idea of what your exposure levels are where you live or where you are traveling. 

But luckily there are easy ways we can avoid it and easy ways to treat yourself if you get overexposed. 

First thing to remember is stay hydrated. You are better able to prevent yourself from overheating and better able to recover if you stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water eat lots of cooling fruits ( watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew)  If you are drinking alcohol and are out in the sun double your efforts to consume water as you are not only processing the sun but also the alcohol in your body. 

The second thing I always recommend despite the controversy around it is sunscreen. You are better off (in my opinion) dealing with the minor effects of sunscreen than skin damage. Use SPF 30 and apply it liberally. You can purchase little travel kits to keep with you for your impromptu bike rides or stops at the beach. They usually have a carabiner and can clip easily to any bag. Have it and you will also think about more chances you have to get outside. 

sunscreen

The third preventative measure is get into the shade. Put on long sleeved clothing. You can always find thin material that lets you enjoy the sun without putting your skin at risk. 

Okay but say you don't get yourself covered and you get the dreaded sunburn. Keep some aloe in your house. You can apply it liberally to any reddened skin. When your skin starts to peel it can help keep your skin moist and cut down on the itching you will experience.

aloe

For severe burns see your physician. They can get you a properly medicated burn cream to reduce the pain and prevent any infections that may arise from a serious burn. I pray you never experience that kind of burn. 

Get out there enjoy the abundance of summer, run, bike, swim, play badminton, play volleyball, have a drink (responsibly), eat dinner outside, and remember that you live on a planet about 92 million miles away from the sun and that sun is hot. Your skin is the largest organ on your body and it is sensitive. Take care of it.