Summer is a great time to be out with the kids. But are you prepared? With the threat of West Nile, the mosquito problem is a huge issue so we must take precautions to avoid getting bitten. Here are some suggestions:
- 1. Use insect repellent
- 2. Wear clothes that cover most of your body
- 3. Avoid going outside at dusk and dawn
- 4. Avoid standing water where mosquitoes live & breed
Most people rely on insect repellent. Two questions to ask yourself are:
- 1. Does it work?
- 2. Is it safe to use on kids?
Most repellents contain a chemical called DEET. DEET works by “confusing” the bug’s nervous system to prevent it from detecting all of the normal bio-signals it relies upon to find prey. In essence, it makes you invisible to the bug. However, some advocates believe there are adverse effects by using repellents on children containing DEET. Here are some hints to remember, if you decide to use repellent:
- 1. Always read the label and follow instructions.
- 2. Use only on exposed skin and over clothes. Do not use under clothes.
- 3. Do not use on sunburn or irritated skin.
- 4. Do not get in eyes. (Rinse immediately with water if this occurs.
- 5. Avoid inhaling spray repellants. Do not use in enclosed areas or near fans.
- 6. Do not use on kids’ hands as they have a tendency to rub their eyes.
- 7. Always apply it for children or supervise use.
- 8. Always wash off after use.
- 9. For children up to 2 years of age – use product with 10% of DEET or less.
- 10. Pregnant & lactating women should not use repellants even though there is no known risk from DEET.
Bug Repellent Alternatives
1. Bounce dryer sheet: Place it on belt, sock or pocket and the smell will drive away mosquitoes. This really works.
2. Vanilla: Use the real clear stuff, not extract. Health food stores usually carry it. Mix required amount with the same amount of water and apply. The great thing is that you will not smell like a chemical factory, more like a cookie. Kids will love it.
3. Marigolds: Plant marigolds around the yard. The flowers give off a smell that bugs do not like, so plant some in the garden to help ward off bugs without using insecticides.