Insect Repellents Safety

Mosquitoes, biting flies and ticks can be annoying and sometimes pose a serious
risk to public health. In certain areas of the United States, mosquitoes can
transmit diseases like equine and St. Louis encephalitis. Biting flies can
inflict a painful bite that can persist for days, swell, and become infected.
Ticks can transmit serious diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain
spotted fever. When properly used, insect repellents can discourage biting
insects from landing on treated skin or clothing.

Choosing insect repellents

Insect repellents are available in various forms and concentrations. Aerosol
and pump-spray products are intended for skin applications as well as for
treating clothing. Liquid, cream, lotion, spray and stick products enable
direct skin application. Products with a low concentration of active ingredient
may be appropriate for situations where exposure to insects is minimal. Higher
concentration of active ingredient may be useful in highly infested areas or
with insect species which are more difficult to repel. And where appropriate,
consider nonchemical ways to deter biting insects -- screens, netting, long
sleeves and slacks.

Using insect repellents safely

The Environmental Protection website recommends the following precautions when
using insect repellents:

Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the
product label). Do not use under clothing.

Never use repellents over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.  Do not apply to eyes
and mouth, and apply sparingly around ears. When using sprays do not spray
directly onto face; spray on hands first and then apply to face.

Do not allow children to handle the products, and do not apply to children's
hands. When using on children, apply to your own hands and then put it on the

Do not spray in enclosed areas. Avoid breathing a repellent spray, and do not
use it near food.

Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin and/or clothing. Heavy
application and saturation is generally unnecessary for effectiveness; if
biting insects do not respond to a thin film of repellent, then apply a bit

After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water or bathe. This
is particularly important when repellents are used repeatedly in a day or on
consecutive days. Also, wash treated clothing before wearing it again. If you
suspect that you or your child are reacting to an insect repellent, discontinue
use, wash treated skin, and then call your local poison control center. If/when
you go to a doctor, take the repellent with you.

Further info

AplusA-online.de - Source: Environmental Protection