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How to protect yourself from insect bites and poisonous plants

These quick tips can take the sting out of the unwelcome exposures that come with working or playing outdoors.

posted July 15, 2016

If you're lucky enough to work outdoors in the summer, you may be unlucky enough to get exposed to biting, stinging insects or poisonous plants, such as poison oak.

For the rest of us, outdoor summer activities such as hiking or camping may result in these unwelcome exposures. Either way, the prevention information below should come in handy.

Protecting against biting and stinging insects:

  • Wear clothing to cover as much of the body as possible.
  • Avoid perfumes and other scented personal care products.
  • Wear insect repellent. 
  • Cover food immediately to avoid attracting insects. 
  • If you're allergic, let others know and carry an epinephrine autoinjector.

Protecting against poisonous plants:

  • Wear clothing to cover as much of the body as possible. 
  • Use skins creams containing bentoquatum if you're in area where exposure may occur. 
  • Never burn poisonous plants; this may result in an allergic respiratory reaction. 
  • Remove exposed clothing carefully to avoid skin contact and launder separately from other clothing.
  • Study pictures of poisonous plants so you can readily identify and avoid them.

Additional resources: