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Beat the bugs
- Dress in loose-fitting light-colour pants and long-sleeved tops made of tightly woven fabric that mosquitoes and flies can't bite through.
- Wear closed shoes. Rochon says mosquitoes are particularly drawn to â€¨the scent of your feet.
- Stay indoors from dusk to dawn—mosquitoes' favourite time to eat.
- Avoid scented cosmetics and hairsprays, which can attract bees.
- Ditch the bug zappers, traps and candles. "Zappers don't discriminate; â€¨they'll zap at anything," says Rochon. You'll get insects that are attracted to light, but not the ones that bite you."
- For a bee sting, use your fingernail â€¨to scrape the stinger away as soon as possible to prevent the release of venom and to reduce pain. An ice cube or a cold compress may also help with swelling.â€¨
-Bites usually reach their worst point within 48 hours and clear up after seven days, says Prochnau. If that doesn't happen, or if you experience signs of â€¨an allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or swelling away from the site of the bite, seek medical attention right away.
The trouble with ticks
Choose your repellent
"Deet is like a cloaking device," says Kateryn Rochon, assistant professor of entomology at the University of Manitoba. "It blocks insects' receptors so your odour doesn't get to them." A repellent with 30 percent deet (the max allowed in Canada) can protect from mosquitoes, ticks and flies for five to eight hours.
For those who experience skin irritation from deet, try icaridin. â€¨It doesn't cause irritation, and â€¨it may last longer, says Dr. Jay Keystone, medical director at Medisys Travel Clinic in Toronto. And, according to pharmacist Todderick Prochnau of Sylvan Lake, Alta., icaridin is best for â€¨children: It can be used â€¨multiple times per day on â€¨kids six months and older.
New way to spray:
If you're looking for a chemical-free repellent, try oil of lemon eucalyptus. But don't expect long-term protection, says Rochon; most natural repellents wear off within an hour or two.
Now that you know how to protect yourself against bugs, you're ready for the great outdoors. Check out these 10 amazing camping spots in Canada.
This story was originally part of "Outdoor Ready" in the June 2016 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!