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You just have to accept the fact that bug bites are as much a part of summer as sunny days, popsicles and going to the beach. They are one of the few negatives we have to trade off for longer days and warm weather. Weather permitting (*fingers crossed*), you’re probably planning to be outside celebrating for most of the Fourth Of July weekend. In addition to protecting your skin from burning, you also want to protect yourself from getting bitten alive by bugs. You are not a human steak for the bugs to eat so you don’t want to be mistaken for one.

(Related: How To Treat Heat Rash, AKA That Very Itchy Red Rash You Only Get In The Summer)

Here’a how to deal with annoying bug bites:

How do I prevent them?Jason Bug Spray

Inspect repellent is one of the common ways to prevent bug bites. The NHS states that products with diethyltoluamide (DEET) are most effective. If you prefer something natural, Quit Bugging Me Natural Inspect Repellent Spray ($6.09, JASON) protects against an array of critters. Apply inspect repellent before going outside and wash it off when you come in. You can also use citronella candles or oils to repel bugs.

Furthermore, you can take precautions such as avoiding going inside when bugs are extremely active, staying away from flowering plants and areas near the water. If you’re having a picnic or a barbecue, keep your food covered and keep garbage away from you.

What do I wear?

Wearing long sleeves and pants makes it harder to get bitten, although you’ve probably discovered that you can still get bit even if you are covered up. Thicker fabrics, like denim, are harder for bugs to get through as opposed to fine knits, like your t-shirt. It’s obviously difficult to follow this guideline if you’re at the beach or it is boiling outside. If you don’t want bugs to be attracted to you, WebMD suggests that you wear light-colored clothing.

Beauty-wise, if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors skip the perfume or scented body and hair products. If you smell good, it will attract the bugs just like your bacon cheeseburger always does.

If I don’t want to get eaten alive, when should I avoid going outside?

The NHS reports that insects are most active at sunrise and sunset so avoid going out at those times. We probably don’t have to convince you to skip that sunrise jog but keep an eye out for when the sun starts setting in the evening and head indoors. That can be the perfect time to make some nachos.

How do I treat bug bites?Walgreens Calamine Lotion

Most insect bites heal on their own but there are a few things you can do to soothe them. The majority of bug bites can be treated by washing them with a mild soap and water or applying a cool compress on them. You can use an ice pack but do not put it directly on the bite. WebMD suggests using a cloth in the middle and do not ice the area for more than 15 minutes at a time. Remember what your mother told you and do not scratch them. You can also apply calamine lotion such as Walgreens Calahist Medicated Calamine Lotion ($4.39, Drugstore.com) to help relieve the itching.

If you notice swelling or you start to feel unwell and show signs of dizziness, sweating, confusion, etc., you could have an allergic reaction and you should seek medical attention.

(Photo: simarik/Getty)