GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Men, like most Minnesotans, wait breathlessly for summer to get outside and engage in all kinds of fair weather activities.
There is a downside,, however... we're talking about all the critters that can leave you with a bite.
"Mosquito bites, stinging insects, wasps and bees, chigars, no-see-ems," says family Doctor Dieter Heinz as he runs down the list.
Heinz sees all kinds of bites, and unless a patient has a known sensitivity or allergy, he says most can be self treated.
"Right when the bite takes place if you can just with a general soap and water. Quickly get a hold of an oral or topical anti-histamine," Heinz explains.
While most bites are just a nuisance, there are those rare occasions that might warrant a trip to the doctor.
"Anything where you have lept from a simple skin reaction, redness, irritation and itching to something now where you have a skin reaction outside of where you were bitten or if you have switched systems so you have moved from the skin to a respiratory complaint or a GI complaint."
If you don’t have extreme symptoms many of these bites are just itchy. It’s tough resist a good scratch but if you remove too much skin you could cause a problem.
"You really are inviting secondary infections just because even the cleanest of us may have bacteria under our fingernails," says Dr. Heinz.
Another summer annoyance are rashes caused by poison ivy, poison oak or one of the state’s other local flora. Contact usually causes.
Wash the area and avoid future contact with the clothing you were wearing when the rash was contracted.
In all these cases there are non-prescription options to ease your misery, including Calamine lotion, oatmeal baths, aloe vera, even a cold tea bag.