Skip to Content

Published on June 23, 2014

Summer Survival: Bug & Water Safety

Girl with bubblesWhether you’re camping, boating or just visiting your local pool, it’s important to be safe around bugs and water. This summer, take a few simple precautions to keep you and your family happy and safe during your summer fun.

Bees and Hornets

Bees and hornets are common summer pests. To avoid painful stings:

  1. Wear light-colored clothing, which will not stand out to a bee, making it less likely to bother you.
  2. Remain calm if a bee or hornet comes near. Move away and avoid the urge to swat or wave your arms.
  3. Avoid perfumes, colognes and scented toiletries, which attract and sometimes anger bees and hornets.

If you do get stung:

  • Get away! Go into shade or indoors if necessary.
  • Remove stinger with fingernails or gauze, never with tweezers or by squeezing.
  • Wash area with soap and water.
  • Apply ice to ease stinging, avoid itching.


Ticks are a small but dangerous bug that lives in wooded or grassy areas and typically preys on deer, dogs, cats and small wild animals. To prevent and/or detect ticks:

  1. Wear insect repellant.
  2. Search for ticks before going indoors. Always check yourself, your children and pets for ticks before going inside. Early detection is key to preventing Lyme disease.

If a tick is found:

  • Remove immediately with needle-nose tweezers, grasping the tick as close to your skin as possible.
  • Clean area with soap and water. Also clean clothing in hot water to kill any ticks that may be in them.

Ticks are especially dangerous because they are known to spread Lyme disease; symptoms include a bulls-eye rash, fever, muscle pain, headache, chills, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes. Contact your physician immediately if you notice any of these signs.

Water and Boat Safety

  1. Always practice the buddy system. Children should always be monitored in the water, and even good swimmers should never swim alone.
  2. Learn how to perform CPR.
  3. Swim in safe or marked areas only. Currents in open water are not always visible from the surface. Never swim in unmarked open water.
  4. Stay hydrated.
  5. Never drink and swim; alcohol and swimming do not mix.
  6. Keep appropriate flotation and life vests on boats.

To learn more about summer safety, talk with your Mercy pediatrician or primary care provider. Or, call our Find-A-Doc line at (319) 369-4444 or visit

Section Links

Health Education

Login to MyChart
Find A Doc