Although warm, summer weather means more time outside, it also means more bugs and more bug bites! While we're familiar with bumps from bees, ticks and mosquitos, DMV residents are noticing unfamiliar bites that can be painful.
People say the welts cause painful itching and experts say the creepy crawler causing them is related to the cicada invasion the area experienced this year.
While they are mostly harmless, they can cause damage to your skin. FOX 5 spoke with dermatologist Dr. Sherry Maragh to learn more about how people can protect their skin and treat it if they do get bit.
"We have been seeing a lot of patients coming in recently with the cicadas, these oak mites," Dr. Maragh says. "They're coming in with itchy, little red bites all over their bodies. The best way to protect ourselves in this summer season from all of these insects is trying to wear protective clothing as much as possible."
Dr. Maragh also recommends wearing insect repellent spray on your clothing or wearing insect repellent bands.
"After you have been outdoors, it's very important to make certain that you're checking your body for bites or even any insects or ticks that might be still hanging on," she says.
Dr. Maragh also drove home the point many of us have heard before - don't scratch your bug bites, even if they're itchy.
"It's easier said than done, but scratching makes things worse, causes scars on the skin, hyperpigmentation and things that are really hard to get rid of," she says. "But an easy way to soothe that itching is using ice on bug bites, using antihistamine creams and of course if they're painful, you can use an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream."
If you want to use an insect repellent that won't irritate your skin or cause breakouts, Dr. Maragh recommends finding a sunscreen that has insect repellent in it.
However, she also says that if you are planning on using both sunscreen and insect repellent when going outdoors, protect your skin from the sun first and then layer the repellent on top.
Despite most bites being mildly annoying at most, some can be serious and you may have to seek medical attention.
"If you notice that you're getting difficulty with breathing, if you notice that you have swelling of your tongue or your lips, or if you notice that your heart is racing or pounding in your chest, those are the signs that you need to seek immediate medical attention," Dr. Maragh says.