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Fight the Bite

The news of West Nile virus -positive mosquitoes trapped in Bridgeport in June was bad enough. Here's some more: there are a lot more mosquitoes this year than there were last.

According to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), this season's mosquito count, taken June 1, was 110,000, while during the same period last year the number of trapped mosquitoes was 35,000.

Summertime also gives life to other irritating insects, some of which carry diseases and others whose bites or stings bring toxic or allergic reactions. In addition to those blood-sucking mosquitoes, ticks, spiders, flies, bees and wasps top the list of health-hazardous insects to be on the lookout for – and avoided -- during summer months.

Prevent the bite: When it comes to mosquitoes, choose a repellent with a low concentration of DEET (the active repellent ingredient) when protection is needed for short periods of time.

Treat the bite . Treatment methods vary, but some general tips for a bite/sting include applying an ice pack to a bite or sting for 15 to 20 minutes, once an hour for the first six hours and elevating the area to decrease possible swelling. To relieve symptoms such as itching or swelling, try non-prescription (over the counter) medications such as oral antihistamine ( Benadryl ). Local anesthetic sprays that contain benzocaine can help ease itching and burning, too, as does hydrocortisone (0.5%) cream or calamine lotion applied topically. Over the counter painkillers such as ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ASA (aspirin) can decrease swelling and lessen pain.

How are you coping with the preponderance of mosquitoes this summer?

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