Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Next week at this time, I'll be enjoying the delights of summer camp with Steve, our kids, and my sisters and brothers from Grace Community Church. Ahhhhh, summer camp....Bible study, crafts, singing around the campfire, snipe hunting, and swimming at the pool. Undoubtedly, our summer bliss will be tempered slightly by annoyances like chiggers and mosquitos. So today - before camp starts - I'm asking you, Dear Reader, for your tips and suggestions for avoiding and/or treating these summer camp party crashers. Here are a few ideas to get things started:

One friend told me that Bounce fabric softener sheets can be used for repelling insects. She packs a few sheets in with her clothing, then rubs her ankles and legs with Bounce before heading out each morning. Although I think the perfume of the fabric softener would attract bugs instead of repelling them, my friend swears this keeps the mosquitos away.

I've also heard that including lots of onion and garlic in your diet helps repel mosquitos - guess they don't prefer blood from the Italian menu! Maybe I should talk to the ladies who will be working as cooks for camp next week and make a few meal suggestions.

We've learned this summer that a sure-fire way to prevent chigger infestation is to shower immediately after you've been hiking in chigger territory. This washes the pesky buggers away before they have time to burrow into your skin. After multiple trips through waist-high grass to pick blackberries, I can report having only ONE chigger this entire summer. Amazing!

If you do fall prey to a plethora of mosquito and/or chigger bites, try a cool salt-water bath to alleviate the itching. Chlorine seems to help, too, so maybe you should take a break from the hiking trails and spend an afternoon at the pool instead. Just don't forget your sunscreen.

What about poison ivy? A few of my kids are especially allergic to poison ivy and will break out from just looking at the plant. Rule #1 to avoid poison ivy - stay on mowed lawns and well-worn paths. Resist the urge to tromp bare-legged through the underbrush. If you do get a case of poison ivy, then what? My older kids say that a damp salt compress helps dry the blisters up - take a damp paper towel, sprinkle with salt, and press on affected area for several minutes; repeat a couple of times throughout the day. Another friend says that stick deodorant applied to the affected area helps dry the blisters and reduce itching. This method would also help prevent overly sweaty arms and legs, I suppose!

What about you, Dear Readers? If you have tips for relieving sunburn, repelling insects, or alleviating the misery of chiggers, we want to hear them!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We learned from a park ranger years ago that when you believe you may have come in contact with poison ivy while hiking to find some Jewelweed... break open the stems and smear the juice on the supposed affected area to prevent breaking out in a rash. So far it seems to have worked for us. :)