It’s summer time, and with that insects are out in full force. Mosquito’s, flies, ticks, and many other insects are not only annoying, but they carry diseases and viruses as well. In this forum, I’m going to share with you what kinds of repellent to use, when you should use it, how you should apply it, and other tips to keep yourself safe and free of annoying pests.
What kinds of repellents are available?
There are several different brands of repellent each one with different active ingredients. There’s Picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus (citriodiol or p-Menthane-3, 8 diol), and the well-known DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide). All these ingredients are effective for different lengths of time, but all are effective against repelling mosquitos and other insects.
How long do they last?
Repellents containing 15-30% DEET are designed for adults spending long periods of time outside usually about 5 – 8 hours. While repellents containing less than 15% DEET last between 1 – 5 hours. Repellents with Picaridin provide similar protection times as DEET. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is a natural repellent and a repellent containing 26% oil lasts up to 4 hours. All ingredients can provide additional protection by re-applying but be sure not to exceed the maximum number of applications advised on the label.
Are all repellents safe for children?
It really depends on the age of the child. Children under the age 2 months should not wear repellent, instead dress them in long sleeves and long pants. You might even consider netting over strollers or playpens. Children over the age of 3 can use repellent with less than 10% DEET or Picaridin. They may also use repellent with oil of lemon eucalyptus. When applying repellent to children, never let them apply it to themselves, instead apply it to your own hands and rub it on the child.
Here are some other guidelines that should be followed when applying insect repellent:
•Do not apply repellents to cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
•Do not apply under clothing.
•Do not spray repellents in enclosed areas.
•Do not spray on to face, instead spray on hands and rub on to face.
•Do not over spray repellent; apply just enough to cover exposed skin and clothing.
•When returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.
•Always read and follow the warning label on the repellent.
These are just a few tips to help you stay insect free during these summer months. RN’s and other healthcare providers should also use this information to pass on to patients. More than likely you have already seen patients that have come in with insect bites or repellent related skin irritations. Be sure to inform them of the recommended ways of using and applying insect repellent. Using these tips, I hope you have a bug-free and fun summer.