As a child I traipsed around the woods with my father and brothers quite a bit, never to be bothered by poison ivy, ticks or other woodland annoyances. But over Memorial Day weekend, alien-like itchy bumps and a rash began popping up on my arms and stomach. Poison ivy? Poison oak? I hadn’t seen any while working in my flower beds just days before, but what else could it be? I was so disgusted by my own arms that I wore long sleeves in the 100-degree heat, not wanting to catch even the slightest glimpse. Benadryl and calamine lotion didn’t cut it, so a six-day dose of prednisone was in order. It seems to have done the trick, but now I’m terrified to return to my yard. What other dangers are lurking among the weeds and shrubs?
Perhaps ticks have it in for me now. Good thing we recently got an e-mail here at the office about how to deal with those buggers. Instead of going in violently with a pair of tweezers, the suggestion was to apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Then cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball for about 15 to 20 seconds, after which the tick should come out stuck to the cotton ball.
The July issue of Parents magazine has tips for remedying more of summer’s irritants, including sunburns and bee stings. Tip: Neutralize the venom of a bee sting with a solution of meat tenderizer and water or solid antiperspirant. Do you have any tried and true tricks of the trade to tackle the challenges summer brings your way? —Sarah K. McDonald