Safety Talk: At Work or At Home Don’t Let Insects Put the Bite on You and Your Family

As you head out for work and your family heads outside to enjoy the warm weather, remember to guard against those pesky creatures that bite and sting. According to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), your first line of defense is to be prepared.

“While most people have mild reactions to insect bites, some people have severe allergic reactions that require emergency treatment,” said Dr. Douglas Kupas, MD, of ACEP. “In addition, some insects carry disease, such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Encephalitis, although this is rare.” While it is impossible to prevent all insect bites and stings, there are steps you and your family can take to minimize the risks when insects are active. For example:

n Use insect repellent. Repellents with DEET are effec­tive in preventing bites by mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers, and biting flies.

n Do not use scented soaps, perfumes, and hair spray, which can attract bugs.

n Exercise additional care when going out during peak hours when insects are out — dusk and dawn.

n Exercise additional care in areas where insects nest or gather, such as stagnant pools of water, garbage cans, and orchards and gardens where flowers are in bloom.

n Do not leave food, drinks, or garbage out and uncov­ered.

n When outdoors in grassy or flowery areas or in areas infested with ticks or mosquitoes, wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and shoes that cover the whole foot. Avoid dressing in bright colors or flowery prints, which seem to attract insects.

n Check yourself and your children for ticks after leav­ing infested areas.

n Make sure children and adults who are highly allergic wear identification bracelets, and adrenaline auto-injectors should be considered by consulting a doctor.

In the Postal Service™, most insect bites and stings occur in our letter carrier craft; therefore, at work you should consider these additional insect bite prevention examples:

n Because many insect bites and stings happen near customers’ mailboxes, each district should consider a mailing to the customers making them aware of the need to check their mail receptacles to free them from insect nests.

n When approaching mailboxes, each carrier should anticipate insect nests and keep his/her eyes on task.

n Upon identifying nests, contact the customer, report it to your supervisor, and complete a hazard warning card.

n When you come in contact with bees or wasps, don’t try to swat them. Rather, remain calm and move care­fully away from the location.

n If a bee or wasp lands on you, try to remain calm because the bee or wasp is, in most cases, only try­ing to absorb the water from your sweat.

n If you are bitten, you should immediately notify your supervisor.

Remember, your family and your safety is a concern for the Postal Service. Please follow the advice of this safety talk so you can minimize the risk of injury at home and at work.