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How to Stay Safe During Mosquito Season

How to Stay Safe During Mosquito Season

The warm and rainy summer weather creates the perfect conditions for mosquito reproduction. Rainwater accumulating in puddles, outdoor equipment, toys, ornamental ponds, birdbaths and any item that can hold water provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Mosquitoes can be the vector for the transmission of a number of serious diseases, such as West Nile Virus, malaria, dengue fever and Zika virus. The use of insect repellents can help protect you and your family from these pathogens. Consumers have a wide range of products from which to choose to protect themselves and their families against mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses.

Commercial Insect Repellents

A number of commercial products are available that do an effective job of repelling insects and preventing bites. The repellent power of these products generally relies on one of three different compounds:

  • DEET – N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide is a powerful insect repellent that has been in use since 1946. A number of questions have arisen over its safety, but it is now considered a safe and effective compound for preventing insect bites and the risk of illness from mosquito-borne diseases. Deep Woods Off and 3M’s Ultrathon Repellent both have DEET as its primary ingredient.
  • Picaridin – Picaridin is a compounds related to one that is derived from black pepper plants. It has been widely available in the United States since 2005. It is the main ingredient in Sawyer’s Picaridin Insect Repellent and Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Picardin Pump
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus – Para-menthan-3,8-diol is a synthetically produced copy of an oil made by lemon eucalyptus tree. Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus spray and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus contains this compound, which has been found to be effective in preventing insect bites. However, it should not be used in children under the age of 3.

Natural Insect Repellents

Individuals who are concerned about chemical sensitivities may prefer to use natural products that have some insect repelling qualities, such as oils of clove, citronella, rosemary or lemongrass. However, in laboratory tests, these compounds are not as effective against insects and will not provide the protection against bites that transmit disease.

Tips For Using Insect Repellents Safely

Consumers should always keep in mind that insect repellents contain powerful chemicals that can be hazardous or can cause allergic reactions. In addition, a number of conditions can impact the effectiveness of repellents, such as activity level, amount of sweating, water exposure and whether mosquitoes are attracted to your body chemistry. Follow these tips to minimize the risk of reactions from the use of repellents:

  • Read directions carefully and follow them precisely.
  • Avoid applying near mouth and eyes areas and apply sparingly on ears
  • Avoid breathing in the spray, use only in open areas
  • Do not spray repellents near food items.
  • After returning indoors, remove repellent residue from skin and clothing.
  • Avoid applying repellent to children’s hands because they often use their hands to touch their mouths and eyes.

Insect repellent products can be an important way to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. If you keep these tips in mind, you can achieve the greatest effectiveness and safety from their use.


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