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How can I avoid an insect sting?

Avoiding yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, fire ants and bees is better than treating yourself for a bite or a sting. Here are some simple preventative measures you can take:

  • Don't walk barefoot in grass, which is a favorite nesting and resting ground for stinging insects and biting spiders.
  • Stay clear of nests or hives. You're a big, two-legged threat and you will be attacked. If you have some unwelcome insect neighbors, have a pest-removal company remove them.
  • Never, ever place your hands in dark corners, underneath objects, or into holes without looking first.
  • You should cover food when dining outdoors, and you should not drink from an open can of soda. Stinging insects love sweet soft drinks about as much as you do and have been known to go inside for a drink. Therefore, always pour your drink into a clear container so that you can monitor for unwelcome drinking buddies.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce exposed skin.
  • Don't dry your laundry outside. Flying, stinging insects might get caught in the laundry and be brought inside with the laundry.
  • If a stinging, flying insect uses you as a landing pad, try not to flail and scream. Remain calm, gently brush off the intruder, and then quickly make an exit.
  • Lastly, try to look less like a flower. You should save your bright, floral shirts for indoors. And, while we're on the floral theme, avoid smelling like a rose, too. Perfumes, lotions, and hairsprays tend to smell sweet and will attract stinging insects.
The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology recommends the following tips for avoiding insect stings:
  • Stay away from insect nests and have those around your home destroyed.
  • If a stinging insect is flying near you, remain calm and move away from the area.
  • Avoid wearing bright colors and perfume outside.
  • When outside, avoid keeping uncovered food or drinks near you as these can attract insects.
  • Do not go barefoot and wear close-toe shoes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.