Don’t Let Insects Bug You This Summer

Fleas, gnats, black flies and mosquito bites galore, oh my. Given the fact we have more insects on the planet than anything else, it’s not surprising that we clash from time to time.

There are a variety of bug repellents on the market, each promising to do one better than the one next to it. The goal is to protect yourself, and your children, with the least amount of product used for the best results.

Here’s what you need to know when it comes to keeping insects and spiders away.

There are many formulations, some chemical and some natural. While there is anecdotal evidence of success with some natural formulations, insect repellent containing DEET (N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) has been found to be consistently effective overall. Should you choose to use DEET products; keep in mind the following:

  1. More is not better.  The sweet spot is above 10% but no higher than 30%. Read the ingredient list carefully.
  2. Apply minimally. Use only what is necessary and apply to your child’s clothing where possible.
  3. Spray outside in an open area. Avoid breathing in fumes
  4. Never spray near the face. If you need to apply to face and neck, apply sparingly with your fingertips.
  5. Do not apply insect repellent to infants under two months of age.
  6. Do not use a formulation that combines sunscreen and DEET. Sunscreen requires frequent reapplication, resulting in overuse of the insect repellent.
  7. Wash all treated skin afterward. Use soap and water to remove any residue when you’re done for the day.

What Else Can You Do?

Be as proactive as possible. While insect bites are a fact of life, there are things you can do to discourage their visitation. Here’s how:

  1. Dump it. Eliminate standing pools of stagnant water where possible and empty out baby pools daily.
  2. Go light. Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  3. Be neutral. Avoid bright colors and patterns that insects favor. Go with light colors. As a bonus, you’ll be cooler too.
  4. Fragrance-free is the way to be. Use unscented products, including soap and shampoo. Insects like flowery-fragranced products.

We’re all in this together, so share the strategy.

Insects are a fact of life, and our goal shouldn’t be to eliminate everything. Smart strategies protect us and our children without damaging our environment. If we play it smart now, we truly can leave our kids a better world.

Dr. Michelle Chapin is a pediatrician in Parker, Colorado at Greenwood Pediatrics. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, camping and canoeing with her family.

Posted: 6/22/2017 1:52:59 PM by Deb Braun | with 0 comments
Filed under: bites, bug, insect, protection, repellent


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