Continuing from my last article on a subject specific for the summer time; I would like to talk about insect repellents. In this article I will talk about the whys, which’s, and how’s of insect repellents.
Why use insect repellents
Not only is the use of insect repellents going to help you and your family not itch after your outdoor adventure, it can and will, help in the prevention of insect borne diseases. Some of these diseases are Lyme disease, Zika, West Nile disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia, Heartland virus, Bourbon virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, and others. They are treatable (ability to decrease the severity) if identified early and treated.
Which insect repellents to use
Before we dive into this let me say this: insect repellents keep biting insects away (mosquitos, ticks, chiggers, flees, and biting flies), not stinging insects (bees, hornets, and wasps). There is not a repellent for stinging insects, so the best way to avoid them is to remove things that may attract them (trash, sweet smelling scents, food, etc.) and do not disturb their home (unless you are prepared to destroy the nest and handle the swarm).
Which product you choose should be dependent upon the length of time you will be outside, what you are trying to repel (flying insects, ticks, or both), and your preference in type of repellant.
There is no rule of thumb, so to speak, about what to use; the container should show which type of pests it repels and for how long. If you would prefer to research online to choose which brand to purchase, you can go to the EPA website at https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you. You type in the information necessary (length of time, what to repel, product preferences) and the site provides a listing of repellents that fit your scenario and are EPA approved.
A quick rundown of the active ingredients options is below:
EPA approved safe and deemed effective repellents:
Lemon Eucalyptus oil
Other insect repellents – Safe but not proven effective by EPA:
Other ways to repel biting insects that can be used alone or better yet, in conjunction with repellants:
Stay away from areas that attract insects (garbage cans, orchards, flowerbeds, standing water, etc.)
Avoid scented skin treatments (soap, perfume, hairsprays, etc.)
Clothing with bright colors or floral prints may attract insects
Check for ticks once you return from the outside adventure
Long sleeve shirts and pants with the legs tucked into the socks
Spraying permethrin on clothing (not skin) will repel ticks
How to apply the repellents
Pick the product that comes in the form of a stick, lotion, or pump sprays
Follow directions on container
Apply repellent to exposed skin and clothing only (not under clothing)
Only apply enough to lightly cover the exposed skin and clothing. More does not change anything except the amount of chemical the person is exposed; it does not increase duration or efficacy
Use open areas to apply the sprays to avoid inhalation
Apply spray repellents to children by spraying on hands of adult and adult applying to areas on child
Wash skin with soap and water when done outside to remove remaining repellent and wash the clothing before wearing again
Do not use on children under 2 months of age (use mosquito netting)
Do not apply repellent to children’s hands as they tend to rub eyes or place fingers in mouth
Do not spray repellent on cuts, wounds, burned, or irritated skin
Do not use combination DEET repellent/sunscreen products as multiple applications of the sunscreen may lead to overexposure of DEET
Finally, if you notice a “bull’s eye” pattern around the bite or experience fever, headache, and/or muscle aches, you should reach out to your care provider for further evaluation.
I hope this helps you and your family in the use of insect repellents for the situation you will be in and remember the best for today may not be the best for tomorrow.
Please feel free to reach out to us at Info@Crosettis.com, or your care provider, with any questions about the information in this article. Let me know if you would like me to write about a topic of your interest.