Repellents in general aid to reduce your exposure to insect bites that may carry life-threatening viruses or diseases. It allows you the freedom to invest in your daily chores and outdoor activities without the fear of getting bitten or infected. Of the many, a mosquito repellent is one of the most commonly used products. It is a household name that is highly utilized for its efficacy to offer comprehensive protection against mosquito bites.
Using a Mosquito Repellent
It is imperative that you use repellent when you go outdoors and even while being indoors. A few minutes, without a repellent, is enough to get bitten and infected by a virus. There are mosquitoes that carry numerous virus bites between dusk and dawn; hence, if you are outdoors during these hours, it is even more imperative that you pay special heed to using an effective mosquito repellent.
There is a wide variety of mosquito repellents available at affordable rates and are approved by healthcare organizations as well. Recommended and registered products containing active ingredients for use as repellents can be applied to the skin and your clothing as well; hence, do read the labels carefully before you buy one to ascertain your purpose of use.
All the registered mosquito repellents are evaluated for their potency, potential effects and efficacy on human beings and the environment which means that these products cannot cause adverse effects to your health or the environment. Peer-reviewed and approved active ingredients that are registered have demonstrated a higher degree of efficacy in scientific literature.
Composition of Mosquito Repellents
Mosquito repellents that contain DEET as an active ingredient are known to typically provide prolonged protection when compared to the others. DEET is a highly effective and reliable insect repellent and has been in public use since the year 1957 which is available in lotion and spray forms and retailed under many brand names.
The DEET concentration in mosquito repellents ranges between 5% and 100%. Products that comprises of higher concentrations of this active ingredient repel insects for prolonged hours; however, increasing the concentration level of DEET may proof not to be substantially effective. For example, if the mosquito repellent contains 50% DEET, it provides about 4 hours of protection against mosquitoes; however, an increase in the concentration to 100% can only offer about an extra hour of protection. Hence, maintaining a concentration level of up to 50% DEET will serve the purpose. There are numerous mosquito repellents that contain multiple active ingredients owing to the difference in the types of mosquitoes. These tend to be more effective than those containing a single ingredient, hence make an informed choice when deciding on which product will best suit your purpose and need.
Besides using chemical based mosquito repellents, you can also opt for repellents containing natural ingredients. Natural mosquito repellents highly benefit children in general as they are more sensitive to chemical based products. Natural products contain volatile plant oil extracts ranging from lemon eucalyptus, citronella, basil, garlic, geranium to peppermint that will effectively repel mosquitoes, but only if frequently reapplied at least every 2 hours.
It is best that you use your common sense and purchase a mosquito repellent that works effectively for you and your children. Whether you choose a chemical based or natural mosquito repellent, do re-apply if you start to get bitten and follow the label instructions strictly.
Do and Don’ts when using Mosquito Repellents
As a rule of thumb, if you are outdoors for many hours or over 3-4 hours, getting bitten is a sure thing and the after-bite effect can be very intense, so look for a mosquito repellent containing more than 20% DEET. Choosing a product with more than 50% DEET concentration will not offer additional protection.
If you are outdoors for a shorter duration of time, mosquito repellents containing less than 20% DEET with 7% picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus will provide adequate protection. Remember that even if you are out for a few minutes; do use a mosquito repellent – that duration is long enough to get bitten. Also, if you can apply permethrin to your clothing, it will give you greater protection.
Always use pump sprays for treating skin and clothing as they offer even and greater application benefits. You can apply liquid or cream based repellents to exposed skin areas for precise protection. Do remember to wash DEET-covered skin with antiseptic soap and running water after you return home. Keep out of the reach of children at all times, avoid application on eyes, lips or mouth, or over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
Choose a mosquito repellent that can be applied with convenience and consistency and will offer sufficient protection as per your needs. If you are concerned about using any insect repellent, consult your healthcare specialist for expert advice.