South Floridians like to spend time outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather that gave Florida the moniker “The Sunshine State.” Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) wants residents to enjoy Mother Nature without having to worry about stings and bites.
MDFR and the Florida Department of Health advocate prevention by practicing the “5 D’s.” They are:
• Don’t go outdoors at DUSK and DAWN when mosquitoes are most active.
• DRESS so your skin is covered with clothing.
• Apply mosquito repellent containing DEET to bare skin and clothing. Other effective repellents include picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535.
• Empty containers and DRAIN standing water around your home where mosquitoes can lay eggs.
When choosing a repellent so you won’t have to worry about bites and stings the next time you wander outdoors, remember the following information:
• Always read the directions carefully for the approved usage before applying. Some repellents are not suitable for children.
• Recommended products contain concentrations of up to 30 percent of DEET. Traditional repellents and EPA-approved alternatives are generally available at local pharmacies.
• Apply insect repellent to exposed skin or onto clothing, but not under clothing.
• When protecting children from bites and stings, read label instructions to ensure that the repellent is appropriate for their age. According to the Center for Disease Control, mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of 3. DEET is not recommended on children younger than 2 months old.
• The best protection for infants is to be kept indoors or use mosquito netting over carriers to protect them.
If you do happen to get bitten, most bites from creatures like bees, wasps and ants are not usually life-threatening unless you have an allergic reaction. These bites are common; and normal reactions to bites from these critters include pain, itching, redness and swelling confined to the sting site. If you have any other reaction from a bite or a sting such as hives, swelling or a drop in blood pressure, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For more information, please contact MDFR’s Public Affairs Bureau at 786-331-5200.