Summer is in full swing, and that means lots of adventures outside! One of the things I love most about living here in Canada is all our natural splendour – our streams, lakes, beaches, forests, prairies, glaciers, national parks, and everything in between! We love to spend as much time outside as we can, whether that’s in the back yard, exploring local green spaces, heading to the beach, camping, or taking a road trip to further fields.
We bring sunscreen on all our summer outings because we’re familiar with the danger of sunburns, but we also need to be careful of insect bites. Ticks and mosquitoes can transmit all sorts of nasty diseases like West Nile virus, Zika virus, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and various forms of viral encephalitis.
Whether you’re hiking, camping, at the beach, at the cottage, vacationing abroad, or barbecuing in the back yard, it’s essential to protect yourself and your family from tick and mosquito bites. Keep these tips in mind:
- Whenever possible, avoid areas near standing water. Empty any standing water receptacles around your home to remove mosquito breeding sites.
- If you can, stay inside during mosquito feeding frenzy time – around dawn and dusk.
- Mosquitoes hunt by looking for carbon dioxide and higher body temperature, so avoid strenuous exercise in mosquito areas.
- Mosquitoes can’t land on you when it’s windy, so stick to breezy areas or use a floor fan to blow the bloodsuckers away.
- Wear long, loose sleeves and pants. Tightly-woven synthetic fabrics (polyester, nylon, rayon) help block mosquito bites better than looser weaves like cotton and linen. Tuck pants into socks to stop ticks from biting.
- When hiking, stay on the trail and out of the high grass or woody areas where ticks like to hang out.
- Do tick checks. Examine gear, pets, and children too. Check under the arms, in and around the ears, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, inside the belly button, and especially in their hair.
- Wear light-coloured clothing. Mosquitoes are less attracted to light colours, and lighter coloured clothing makes it easier to see ticks crawling around before they bite you.
- Wear permethrin-treated clothing to repel mosquitoes and ticks, but remember permethrin isn’t safe when applied to skin!
- The most important thing you can do to protect you and your family is to use an insect repellant that’s safe, effective, and long-lasting. Look for active ingredients with proven effectiveness like DEET and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
Be sure to include effective insect repellents as part of your First Aid/outdoor safety essentials kit this summer!
Did you know that pregnant women breathe out more carbon dioxide and have a higher resting body temperature than non-pregnant women? As many of these diseases are especially problematic when you’re pregnant, effective protection is even more important when you’re expecting. DEET is considered generally safe for pregnant women.
Ben’s® 30 Tick & Insect Repellent uses a 30% concentration of DEET to provide up to 8 hours of protection from mosquitoes, black flies, stable flies, deer flies, biting midges, ticks, and chiggers. Its unique formula is water-based instead of alcohol-based, so it absorbs less into the skin and evaporates more slowly to provide all day protection. The water-based formula also reduces the likelihood of skin or eye irritation and is much less flammable.
If you’re looking for an all-natural product that’s still effective, I recommend Natrapel Lemon Eucalyptus Spray. It contains an active ingredient derived from a natural plant base (oil of lemon eucalyptus) which provides a cool refreshing scent. Natrapel Lemon Eucalyptus protects from mosquitoes for 4-6 hours, and the 74 ml travel size bottle is airplane friendly so you can pack it in your carry on for wherever your adventures take you.
If you do get a bug bite, don’t let the itch and pain ruin your family fun. Treat it! After Bite has been our go-to remedy for bug bites for as long as I can remember. The gel contains baking soda, tea tree oil, and ammonia to help soothe your skin and stop the itch. I like to keep a tube in the medicine cabinet at home, in the car, and in my purse.
You can find Ben’s® 30 Tick & Insect Repellent, Natrapel Lemon Eucalyptus Spray, and After Bite at a number of retailers including Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws, Rexall, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Canadian Tire, SAIL, and Sobeys.
Oh, and when you’re heading out on your summer adventures, don’t forget to bring along a first aid kit. My local Costco has a great deal going on right now for this Priority EZ Care First Aid System® valued at $90 for only $29.99.
Each First Aid kit includes:
- After Bite – Instant relief from mosquitoes, biting flies, bees, wasps and other insects. Pharmacist preferred and Canada’s #1 bite treatment!
- Easy Access Bandages – Patented easy open technology and grip/pull/stick for fast application.
- BurnShield – Hydrogel for emergency use on burns and scalds. Cools and soothes, minimizes trauma and skin damage with added pain relief.
- C-Splint – Large flexible finger splint for improved injury comfort.
- EMT Shears – Hospital quality EMT shears can cut through medical tape, trousers, or even boots.
- Canadian Red Cross First Aid Guide – Fast reference during an first aid emergency.
- Plus a Bonus Auto Kit perfect for road trips!
Win an Outdoor Safety Prize Pack
One of my Canadian readers will win a basket full of items to keep you safe from bites and stings all summer and year round!
This prize pack includes a generous supply of After Bite, Ben’s® 30 Tick & Insect Repellent, Natrapel Lemon Eucalyptus Spray, and a Ben’s UltraNet insect head net, RV $75. Enter in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, 18+. All the winner’s entries will be verified.
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Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation. Nevertheless, all opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ.