Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City
With summertime in full swing, many of us are spending much more time enjoying the warmer weather outdoors. One thing many of us find ourselves doing while outside in the warm weather is swatting those bugs away!
One way we keep the bugs away is bug spray! Many people ask which kind of bug spray is safe for kids and which kind works the best.
The best reported bug repellent out there to work against both ticks and mosquitos is DEET(N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). The smell of this type of repellent isn’t pleasant to insects. The way DEET works is the length of protection depends on the percent of DEET. 10% works for a couple of hours and 20% works twice as long.
However, DEET does pose a couple of side effects, the most common side effect being skin irritation. There is also a slight risk that DEET can affect the brain and possibly cause seizures. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that the risk of seizure due to DEET is one in a hundred million users.
The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend using DEET in infants less than two months old. They also report that using up to 30% is safe for children. A couple of tactics that have found not to work are soaking wristbands in repellents, taking a garlic or vitamin B1 pill and bug zappers or ultrasonic devices.
Here is a list of some otherrepellents besides DEET that work pretty well:
- 2-undecanone (IBI-246). This is a chemical naturally found in various plants--it's used to not only repel insects, but dogs and cats! It is found in Bite Blocker products. According to the EPA, it protects for four hours against mosquitoes, two hours against ticks.
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or PMD (the man-made version of it)--this works pretty well for up to six hours against both mosquitoes and ticks.
- Picaridin--works well against mosquitoes, but not ticks.
- IR-3535--this is the active ingredient in Avon's insect repellents. It's made from a common amino acid, alanine. It only protects for about two hours against mosquitoes or ticks.
- Citronella oil--doesn't work as well as Eucalyptus. You will only get an hour or so out of it.
- Other oils, like Soybean or Catnip (your cat will love that one)--they offer variable protection, and aren't so great against ticks.
Here is another list of things to remember no matter what kind of repellent you choose to use:
- Grownups, not kids, should do the applying.
- Spray in an open area to minimize how much of the stuff you breathe in.
- When applying to the face, spray some into your hand and then rub it on the face (steering clear of the eyes and mouth).
- Wash your hands, so that you don't end up inadvertently mixing bug spray with your sandwich (this is why I'm not so wild about those repellent wipes).
- Try to use a product geared for the amount of time you need, rather than reapplying (especially when using a DEET product).
- Don't buy combination sunscreen-insect repellent products, for just this reason--sunscreen is something you should reapply.
- Don't use it on open skin.
- Dress kids in light-colored clothing--and spray the clothing.
- Give kids a good washing at the end of the day with soap and water, and be sure to wash sprayed clothing before it's worn again.
What kind of bug repellent do you use on your children? Let us know on Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City's Facebook page linked here.