Yes. It does matter which bug repellent your family uses. Not all bug repellents are equal. What do you need to know before purchasing your next bug repellent? Why bother to use any repellent at all? Are there any natural alternatives compared to the more potent chemically-laden repellents? Since nobody enjoys a good bug bite but the bug, let’s take a look at the answers to these questions.
Why bother to use any bug repellent at all?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), if mosquitoes are still flying around, then the West Nile virus is still a threat to human beings. The West Nile virus can cause serious illness and at times result in death. The CDC’s recommendation is to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants whenever possible along with a bug repellent.Since 1999, there have been thousands of reported cases in North America, some resulting in death. It’s up to you if you decide to use or not use any repellent for bugs. You will need to weigh the risks for your family.
What You Do Need to Know About the Most Common Bug Repellents and DEET
- One third of Americans per year use bug repellents with the active ingredient or pesticide, DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) also known by other names and in hundreds of products.
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that repellents with DEET not be used on infants less than 2 months old. They also recommend using the lowest possible concentration of DEET for children. AAP indicated concentrations of 10% appear to be as safe as products with a concentration of 30% when used according to the directions on the products label.
- Do not apply repellent with DEET more than once a day for children older than two months of age. Do not put on children’s hands or face. You do not want the child to ingest the repellent.
- When coming indoors after use of any repellent, always thoroughly wash the repellent off. This is one most people don’t think to do—including me.
- Beware of drinking alcohol and using any DEET repellent. The alcohol may cause the skin to absorb much more DEET concentrate than you want.
- According to Dr. Abou-Donia, who has studied pesticides and their impact on the public for 30 years—NEVER use DEET on infants or combine with other insecticides, sunscreens, or over the counter antihistamines. As you can see, he disagrees with the AAP in the use of any DEET products on infants. Read about the research and the neurological implications in the use of DEET. You might be surprised. Beyond Pesticides
Relax–There Are Natural Bug Repellents Out There
At this point, you may be wondering what real choices you have. With a little bit of homework and common sense, you will solve the dilemma. There are many natural products, not laden with heavy chemicals, which can be safely used. My advice is to Google “natural bug repellents.” When I did, I found many good products at decent prices. Just remember that natural is usually better unless you personally have sensitivity to one of th
Other Bug-Repellent Measures You May Want to Consider:
- Some people advise adding B1 to their daily regimen of vitamins. Check with your doctor on how much to use.
- Plant marigolds around your patio or areas where you don’t want mosquitoes. They hate the smell of marigolds!
- Make sure outside basins or pots are emptied of any unused water that may attract mosquitoes.
- Be aware that the heaviest concentration of mosquitoes occurs at dusk and dawn. The mosquito is a night-time flyer. You may decide to limit your activities outside during those times. Some areas of the country though also have problems during daytime hours, depending on where you live.
- Some information even says to avoid bananas during mosquito season since there is something in bananas that attracts the bug.
Okay all being said, you still have your choices. I personally like to go with the more natural bug repellents. However, if you decide to go with the leading bug repellent brands, please check the DEET concentrations and the toxicity of the chemicals in the product. You can find this information by going to PAN Pesticides Database. These are just a few tips that may help you limit your bug bites and choosing the right bug repellent for your family while protecting your overall health.