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Teen Talk

July 21, 2012

A Word of Advice: Stay safe outdoors this summer

Summertime is here again. It's time to relax, make money and not have any school work to do.

However, don't forget about the bugs and dangers that the summer time brings.

When you know you will be outside for the majority of the day or are camping, make sure to go light on the perfume.

Perfume attracts bugs and you are guaranteed to have bug bites once you leave.

If you are camping out, apply bug spray to minimize the bug bites you will receive.

A lot of people think that all bees are harmful; however, that generally is not the case.

There are several kinds of bees that are good.

The big black and yellow bumblebees are good. Hurting them is not necessary. They are responsible for a lot of pollination and will not bother you unless you make them angry. So just ignore them when they buzz on by and they will do the same.

Smaller golden-brown furry bees are usually honey bees. They are related to the bumble bee and are pretty tame as well.

The bright yellow-and-black bees with no hair are yellow jackets. These are the bees that you do not want to make mad.

Wasps are similar however they are usually slimmer. They have a bad temper and give a pretty nasty sting.

Remember, swatting at any type of bee is most likely going to make it angry, so if one lands on you, gently brush it away.

But if you are drinking outside, watch your open containers because they are drawn to sweet drinks.

Mosquitoes can give a pretty itchy bug bite.

But you can make your own mosquito repellent at home.

Oils that help repel mosquitoes include cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, citronella and lemongrass.

In a spray bottle, mix 20 to 25 drops of one of the above oils with 2 tablespoons of carrier oil such as olive oil and shake well.

Then apply directly onto your skin and clothing, but avoid the sensitive area around the eyes.

After a day outdoors, the last thing you want to worry about is getting a tick-borne disease.

If an infected tick hooks into you, it can spit bacteria into your bloodstream, causing you to become sick. Take these precautions so that you don't end up being sick.

Wear light-colored, heavy-woven clothing, long sleeves and pants. Also, use a tick replant that contains DEET or Permethrin and follow those directions.

When you get home, put your clothes into the washer as soon as possible. After they are washed, put them in the dryer for about 20 minutes.

Just to make sure you are tick free, do a full body check. Ticks are the size of a poppy seed and are easy to miss, so make sure to look carefully.

Last but not least, when you know you will be in the sun for the majority of the day, bring sunscreen. Depending on your skin type you may want to use a high SPF suncreen. Many of us want that nice tan glow during the summer, but wearing sunscreen is very important.

Skin cancer is caused by excessive sun exposure. It occurs on the parts of the body that are most visible to the sun, such as the face, neck, ears, forearms and hands.

By taking proper precautions, you can have lots of fun over the summer without worry about the dangers. Have fun and stay safe.

Melissa Flathmann, a 2011 graduate of Oneonta High School, is a rising sophomore at the State University College at Plattsburgh. Would you like A Word of Advice from her? Send her an email at or send her a letter to "Teen Talk: A Word of Advice," C/O The Daily Star, P.O. Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at

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