Is that mosquito repellent safe?
It’s that time of year again.
The weather is warming up, and mosquitoes are on the hunt.
Just when you’re ready to enjoy some deck time in the evening, they arrive like the skunk at the dinner party.
Mosquitoes are voracious, and in some cases dangerous.
But there are things you can do these days.
For 40 years, repellent sprays have had an ingredient called DEET.
It stands for N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide and it doesn’t actually kill mosquitoes, it just repels them.
But no one actually knows why.
Dr. Melanie Wick is a pediatrician with Trinity Mother Health Care system.
“We have levels of DEET used in insect repellent that we recommend. For children and really, adults too, levels up to 30% are thought to be safe,” she says. There is one in particular with the Deep Woods name that is 100% DEET. So you do want to look at the percentage of DEET on the container that you’re purchasing.”
And be careful around the very young.
“Depending on the age of your child,” Wick says, “we wouldn’t want to use it on anyone under 2 months. But if you know you have a child who likes to put their hands in their mouth, spraying their hands, spraying around their face could be a way for them to eat more of it.’
And as for alternatives?
“Picaridin is another insect repellent. It has been in some studies, to be shown to be as effective as DEET, so that’s an option. There are some other essential oils like lemon and other oils that have been tested. They haven’t been shown as having been as effective as like even 10% DEET.”
There is some research that indicates mosquitoes are developing some resistance to DEET.
They’re even more evil than we thought.