Don’t let those pesky itch-causers ruin your outdoor fun.

When you’re having friends and neighbors over for a BBQ, it’s reasonable to worry about things like rain in the forecast and having enough ice. But you definitely don’t want mosquito bites and bug bites to keep your guests from hanging out in your yard.

Same goes for those summertime hiking and camping trips. With all there is to love about the great outdoors, don’t let a few pesky insects spoil an opportunity to commune with Mother Nature.

There’s lots you can do to make your outdoor environment free of things that can cause skin irritation and itching. So check the weather forecast, fill up the cooler, and get the tent out of the basement because it just might be time to get out into the great outdoors.


The great outdoors
Hiking and camping
Cortizone-10® products that fight itch


Everybody loves the fresh air, but let’s face it — there are some things that are not so great about the great outdoors. But with a little advanced planning, they’re all pretty easy to overcome.


It’s nice to think that every creature has its purpose, but does anyone know what mosquitoes do to help the greater good? Everyone’s had a mosquito bite or two or three, and the itching is no fun. 

Bug sprays are an easy way to try and keep mosquitoes away, and those containing DEET and oil of lemon eucalyptus can reduce mosquito attraction by 60%.1 If you need help figuring out which insect repellent is right for you, the Environmental Protection Agency has this handy guide.2

Another popular option is candles containing citronella. These can be great for setting a festive outdoor mood, but their effectiveness as a mosquito deterrent is questionable.1

But don’t go running indoors just yet — here are some easy things you can do around the yard to help keep those pesky flying biters at bay.


Mosquitoes love standing water. Empty rainwater that collects in rain gutters, buckets, toys, tarps, etc.3


At least once a week, empty water used in birdbaths, fountains, potted plants, rain barrels, and wading pools.3


Replace regular outdoor lights with yellow light bulbs. They don't repel mosquitos, but they attract fewer than ordinary lights.3


When spending time outside, wear long pants and long sleeves to keep as little skin exposed as possible.3


Unlike the mysterious (or nonexistent) contribution that mosquitoes make to society, bees do at least a couple things that are pretty great: they make honey and pollinate flowers. Unfortunately, they’ve also been known to sting people from time to time, so it’s best to stay on their good side. 

If you’re out in the yard and a bee starts buzzing, resist the urge to swat it away as this could make it mad.4 Try to simply walk away, or try blowing at them gently.4 Bees also aren’t big fans of loud outdoor machinery like lawn mowers and chainsaws,4 so be cautious when doing yard work.



Steer clear of flowering plants and trees with ripe fruit, since these are a couple things bees love.5


Avoid applying perfume and using scented soaps when you’re getting ready to head outdoors.5


Bees are attracted to bright colors and flowered prints, so keep your wardrobe neutral if bees are a concern.5


If you get caught in or near a swarm, move away with slow, deliberate movements.5


Although they can certainly be found out in the yard, poisonous plants are more of a concern when you’re camping or hiking. Learn to identify the poisonous plants in your area or wherever you’re traveling. And remember the old saying: “Leaves of three, let it be.”

Most poisonous plants produce leaves in clusters of three. In each set, the middle leaf has a longer stem than the other two.6 The stems on the side leaves are smaller, and are always directly opposite each other.6

If you think you might have come into contact with poison ivy, wash the affected area with soap and water as soon as possible. A rash will usually appear 12–48 hours after contact and last 2–3 weeks.7

See some “leaves of three” and worried it might be poison ivy? If it’s in your yard, your local garden center or hardware store should have some good advice. In the short term, consider creating a barrier around the plants to keep people (and pets) out of harm’s way. If it’s out on the trail, steer clear and make sure everyone else in your hiking party does the same.


There’s nothing quite like the warm feeling of sun on your skin. But too much sun is no picnic. If you’re having the neighbors over for a BBQ, or just sending the kids outside to play, make sure everyone is taking the necessary precautions. 

When it comes to sunscreen, there is no shortage of options to choose from. But a great place to start is this article from the American Cancer Society on choosing the right sunscreen. And remember, while sunscreen is extra important during the warmer months, it’s recommended that you put some on whenever you’re headed outdoors.8

A few more things you can try to keep your skin protected from sun damage:


A wide-brimmed hat or baseball cap can help keep your face in the shade8


Protect your eyes with sunglasses that include UV protection8


Limit your sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest8


A little preparation can make all the difference whether it’s a short stroll through the forest, a backpacking trip in the mountains, or family-friendly camping in a state park. No matter where you’re going, do a little research about the climate and terrain, then make a checklist before you head out. 

If you’re camping, consider asking a park ranger or other campers if there are poisonous plants to watch out for. You might also inquire about the presence of ticks, spiders, or other crawlies that bite. And don’t forget to pack your first aid kit. 



Lush areas might offer overhead protection from the sun but extra exposure to crawlies in the trees4


Bugs love to hang around old bird's nests; under old fallen tree logs; and in brushy areas including shrubs, bushes, hedges, and tree limbs4


Holes, crevices, loose dirt, and piles of rocks are the perfect domiciles for pests4


If you find yourself with an itch to scratch, we can help. Cortizone-10® products contain the maximum-strength hydrocortisone available over the counter to provide temporary itch relief. Our products help relieve symptoms including itch associated with minor skin irritations, inflammation, and rashes due to eczema, psoriasis, insect bites, detergents, jewelry, cosmetics, soaps, seborrheic dermatitis, poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, external anal itching, and external genital itching — including feminine itch.

That's why we're the #1 Doctor Recommended OTC Topical Anti-Itch Brand.*

Maximum Strength Ultra Moisturizing Anti-Itch Cream contains 10 moisturizers to make skin feel softer. It helps relieve itch associated with minor skin irritations and rashes due to insect bites, poison ivy, psoriasis, and more.

Maximum Strength Itch Relief Cream With Aloe contains maximum-strength hydrocortisone and aloe to help soothe your skin. It’s great for relieving itch associated with minor skin irritations due to insect bites, poison ivy, and more. 

Maximum Strength Itch Relief Ointment provides water-resistant relief, making it a must-have for summer. With maximum-strength hydrocortisone, it helps relieve itch associated with minor skin irritations due to insect bites, poison ivy, and more. 

Maximum Strength Itch Relief Cooling Gel brings a cooling sensation and cools skin on contact. Helps relieve itch associated with minor skin irritations, inflammation, and rashes due to insect bites, poison ivy, eczema, psoriasis, and more. 

Maximum Strength Itch Relief Easy Relief Applicator is the no-mess way to help relieve itch associated with minor skin irritations and rashes due to insect bites, poison ivy, psoriasis, and more.

*2023 IQVIA Study


1., Gwen Peterson.
Want to repel mosquitoes? Don't use citronella candles.
American Association for the Advancement of Science.

February 16, 2017.

2., Editors.
Find the Repellent that is Right for You.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. 

3., Editors.
Tips to Prevent Mosquito Bites.
United States Environmental Protection Agency.

4., Editors.
Working Safely around Stinging Insects.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

5., Editors.
Preventing Bee Stings.
C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, University of Michigan Health.

6., Editors.
How to Identify Poison Ivy.
University of Maryland Extension.

7., Editors.
Poison Ivy Rash.
Mayo Clinic.

8., Editors.
Choose the Right Sunscreen.
American Cancer Society.