Our winter hibernation is coming to an end so we are spending more time outdoors as all the snow melts, the trees and flowers come back to life, the grass begins to grow, and the birds begin to sing. There's nothing more enjoyable than taking in fresh air and enjoying the sunlight after long months of cold weather, snow, and gloomy days. Although this is an enjoyable time that we are all looking forward to, there are some things to keep in mind.

Just as we humans enjoy the warm weather so do many of our world's shared inhabitants. Many animals and insects spend months stowed away trying to remain warm and safe during the winter months so they can enjoy the bliss of summer, which means they often come out in large numbers during the early months of the great weather. Some of these inhabitants are friendly and easy cohabitants while others can cause you harm. Here is a reminder of a few things here in Michigan that can place you in danger as you begin to enjoy the weather.

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Firstly, believe it or not, there are snakes here in Michigan, and they are coming out to play this spring and summer. As the grass blades get longer and you begin to make your way out to take care of your lawn and flowerbeds, keep in mind that the legless animal will be slithering its way around. They will mostly be found in long grass which presents another set of hazards as well.

Long grass brings about many dangers as there can be several things hidden within the blades. We have already brought up the snakes but there are other concerns such as groundhogs, holes within your yard, and even ticks. Ticks pose a danger for not only humans but pets as well, as they latch onto the skin/fur and repeatedly bite their victim(s).

On top of these dangerous animals there are also there is the everyday hazard of insects such as flies, nats, bees, wasps, and others that can cause significant damage. Let's not leave out the mosquitos who can cause irritation and even carry disease. Although all of these dangers persist, there is one that has Michigan residents on edge, it's the Buckmoth Caterpillar.

I don't know about you but I was today years old when I found out that caterpillars can sting and that these stings can be painful. The affected area will swell up and cause irritation but should not be scratched. Instead you should remove the caterpillar, use tape or tweezers to remove remaining visible spines, apply an ice pack and then a paste made from baking soda and water. Following this use hydrocortisone cream, benadryl, or Ibuprofen as needed.

If you are showing signs of infection or have an allergic reaction contact your primary care provider immediately. Stay safe while outdoors and always remember that enjoying the sunshine is always a great time!

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