Much of the country has been experiencing heavy bouts of rain this summer. During this time of year, that rain and resulting stagnant water often lead to a surge in the number of mosquitoes. In addition, the other typical insects that we associate with summer fun (ticks, bees, wasps, etc.) are around, too.
Besides leaving their irritating bites and stings, some of these insects can transmit potentially dangerous illnesses to people. Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help keep these pesky bugs away.
The strongest and most effective insect repellents are those that contain DEET (chemical name N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). DEET has the reputation of being a strong, “no-nonsense” chemical; however, the Environmental Protection Agency has found no evidence of incidents that would lead the agency to see a need to restrict the use of DEET.
Therefore, go ahead and use insect repellents that contain DEET when you are really concerned about preventing insect-related diseases in yourself and your children. Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, and mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus, as well as other viruses.
As an alternative to DEET, picaridin has become available in the U.S. in concentrations of 5 percent to 10 percent. Some sprays, such as permethrin, are available that can be sprayed onto clothing to help deter insects and thus decrease the amount of insect repellent applied to the skin. These products may be particularly useful in infants under 2 months of age.
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