You’ve got the trailer hitched up and you’re headed out on the road to explore the great outdoors. That means bugs. But the pests don’t have to ruin your trip. A few precautionary measures and some simple common sense, along with a few tricks on what to do if you get bit or stung, can mean the difference between spending the day itching red welts on your arms and legs or enjoying an unforgettable hike through purple mountain majesties.
- First, the obvious advice: Make sure you pack your insect repellent. It’s still the best defense for preventing bug bites. Early to mid-summer camping usually means mosquitoes, especially if you’re camping near a body of water. For best results, use repellent with DEET. It’s simply the most effective compound for keeping bugs away. Keeping exposed skin covered in repellent goes without saying. However, spraying the top of your hiking boots and your socks will keep bugs away from your ankles and spraying your shirt will keep the bugs from hovering around you. For sitting around your campsite we suggest a Thermacell Mosquito Repeller, a purchase that can be added to your Road Adventures rental.
- Dress for the insects: If you’re going to be in an area popular to mosquitoes, wear bright and loose fitting clothes. Most mosquitoes are attracted to darker colors and can bite through single layers of clothes, especially if it’s tight against your skin. The opposite is true if you’re hiking through dense forest or vegetation, the natural habitat for ticks and spiders. Loose clothing will allow this critter to crawl up and lodge in places they shouldn’t be. So wear long sleeves and pants, and maybe even tuck them into your socks.
- Do the pat down: Once you’re back from that hike, check yourself for ticks and other critters. Ticks like to hang out where it’s warm and moist, so checking areas like your armpits, scalp and hairline, especially at the top of your neck, is wise. Also check your ears and toes. If you find a tick and it’s attached itself, don’t panic. By gently pinching and pulling on the head – not the body – you can slowly extract the tick. Tweezers work great as do fingernails.
- Scratch that itch: A number of remedies to help soothe bug bites are available over the counter. Antihistamines, like Benadryl, work great for reducing inflammation and getting rid of that need to itch, but they can make you drowsy. Topical ointments like hydrocortisone can also give quick relief when applied directly to a bite. Calamine lotion is another popular remedy but it doesn’t work the same for everyone.