Mosquito Repellents: You've probably always used them the wrong way

The EPA has drawn up a series of recommendations for the correct use of repellents in order to ensure the efficacy and safety of these products

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Mosquitoes in this period risk ruining our lives, especially if we are among those who are bitten most frequently. There are several repellents on the market but these products must be used with extreme care due to the chemicals that, in most cases, they contain. The EPA provides some guidelines for using repellents safely and effectively. 

In summer we often use mosquito or other insect repellents but the risk is to use them in the wrong way. In this regard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has drawn up a series of recommendations for the correct use of insect repellents ranging from carefully reading the labels of each product, to safety warnings, arriving at precautions for children and systems to maximize the effectiveness of the products.

These are important indications as we often use anti mosquito repellents too lightly, even on children, forgetting that inside them (unless we choose 100% natural products which in any case have contraindications) there are chemicals.

So let's see the advice of the EPA.


Application of the product

We must read and faithfully follow the instructions on the label of the product we have purchased. It is also good:

  • Apply repellants only to exposed skin and / or clothing. Do not use under clothing.
  • Do not apply near the eyes and mouth and apply sparingly around the ears.
  • If it comes to spray products, do not spray directly on the face but first on the hands and then apply on the face.
  • Never use repellent on cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
  • Do not spray indoors.
  • Avoid breathing aerosol products.
  • Do not use near food.

Safety Tips

The EPA recommends that you:

  • Check the label for flammability warnings for the product. If so, do not use it around open flames or lit cigarettes.
  • After returning home, wash the treated skin and clothing with soap and water.
  • Do not use any product on pets or other animals unless the label clearly states that it is suitable for animals.

Repellents and Children

The first and most important advice is to keep insect repellents out of the reach of children, in a locked cabinet or other safe place not accessible to children.

Because children often put their hands in their eyes and mouth, the EPA recommends that all repellent products carry the following precautionary information on their labels for little ones:

  • Do not allow children to handle this product and do not apply to children's hands. It should be used first on the hands of the adult and then on the child.
  • After returning home, wash the baby's treated skin and clothes with soap and water or bathe.
  • According to labels, some lemon eucalyptus oil products should not be used on children under the age of three. There are no restrictions for use in children under the age of three for some repellent products containing lemon eucalyptus oil as the only active ingredient at concentrations of 30% or less. Also in this case it is good to read the labels carefully.

And as for the DEET? The EPA specifies that this is approved for use on children with no age restrictions. Furthermore, there is no restriction on the percentage of DEET present in the products, as the data show no difference in the effects between juveniles and adults in the tests carried out for the registration of the product (however, the tests were conducted on animals).  

However, there are natural but effective substances as an alternative to DEET, as also specified by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) which has authorized some active substances listed on its website. (Read also: Mosquito Repellents: How to Choose Natural Products That Really Work, According to ECHA)

Maximize the effectiveness of repellents

We must not abuse these products but, if we want them to work, it is good to apply the amount of repellent indicated on the label. If you do not follow the directions, in fact, the product may not be effective enough. 

Additionally, the effectiveness of the product may vary due to conditions such as:

  • Physical activity / sweating
  • Water exposure
  • Air temperature
  • From the diversity of each person who can be more or less attractive to mosquitoes

Read all our articles on mosquitoes.

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Fonte: Environmental Protection Agency

Read also:

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  • Anti-mosquitoes, the 6 most effective products according to a French test
  • Natural mosquito repellents: here are which ones really work (and which don't)
  • Mosquitoes: the best repellents to keep them away in an ecological way
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