Pharmacist’s Corner: Bug Bites Bite!
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, but sadly along with that comes bugs. Mosquitos, ticks, and so many more bugs can put a damper on your summer days.
Do not fear though! It’s worth fighting off these littles pests to enjoy the summer days, if you’re smart about it and wear the proper protection.
Preparing for Bugs: What to Buy
There are multiple types of bug spray you can purchase on the market today. There are some key chemicals to look for when deciding which spray is right for you.
The first one to talk about is Deet. Deet has been around for quite a long time, and is the most commonly used anti-insect chemical.
Bug sprays will typically come in concentrations of 10%, 20%, or 30% Deet. Anything more than that has not proven to be significantly more effective.
Deet 10% will protect you for up to 4.5 hours. It’s best to use this concentration for children older than 6 months and under 12 years of age. For kids 6 months of age to 2 years old, it should only be applied once daily. For kids 2 to 12 years of age it can be applied up to three times per day.
Note: when applying to children, make sure you spray your hands first then use your hands to wipe it on skin not covered by clothing. Careful to avoid the face and be cautious around the ears.
Deet 20% and 30% are recommended for anyone above the age of 12 years. 20% will last up to 6.5 hours where 30% will last up to 8. Remember to re-apply when the time runs out, or if you notice you are getting bitten.
Icaridin is just as effective as Deet against mosquitos and ticks. If you’re someplace where other bugs are more prevalent though, you should stick with Deet.
Icaridin should be bought in 20% concentrations. This will protect for up to 7 hours. This is best used for both adults and children, but not babies under 6 months of age.
3. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil is a less effective choice but is great if you’re looking for a plant based product. Check the label of your spray for either pmenthane-3,8-diol or PMD, which are other names for Lemon Eucalyptus Oil.
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil will protect for 2 hours against mosquitos and 5 hours against blackflies.
Please be aware, Lemon Eucalyptus Oil has not been proven safe for children under 3 years!
Bug Spray Application
Application should be freely sprayed on bare skin, while spraying on the hands to rub on face and lightly near the ears. Make sure to stay away from your eyes and mouth. Avoid heavy use of the repellent, if a thin layer isn’t enough, just add a little more.
Avoid spraying near cuts, or sunburns, and wash the spray off with soap at the end of the day.
Remember that children under 12 years old shouldn’t be allowed to handle insect repellent. Spray it on your hands then rub it on the child’s visible skin.
Avoid sunscreen/bug repellent combination products. Sunscreen typically need to be applied more frequently than bug repellents and if you need to use both, apply the sunscreen about 30 min or so before the insect repellent.
All three mentioned types of insect repellant are safe to use for pregnant or breastfeeding women when used as directed.
What to Avoid
As mentioned in our Sun Care blog last week, rumours are not to be trusted. Things to keep in mind about keeping the bugs at bay are:
- Eating Garlic is not a proven way to repel insects
- Special Bracelets do not have scientific backing to repel insects
- Your vitamin composition will not deter specific bugs
Stick with Deet, Icaridin, or Lemon Eucalyptus Oil and you should be A-OK!
Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, give Capsule a call or come on down to the Pharmacy and our friendly Pharmacists will point you in the right direction!
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