1: Precautions to Minimize Potential for Adverse
Reactions from Repellents
repellent sparingly, only to exposed skin or
clothing, not under clothing.
DEET concentrations between 30% and 35% are
quite effective for adults. In general, avoid
applying high-concentration (more than 30-35%
DEET) products to the skin; for children, 35%
is the highest concentration recommended. It
is preferable not to use DEET on children under
age 2 months.
Avoid inhalation or ingestion of repellents.
Do not get them into the eyes.
Wear long sleeves and long pants, when possible,
and apply repellents (e.g., permethrin) to clothing
to reduce skin exposure. DEET generally won't
harm cotton, wool, or nylon but it may damage
synthetic fibers (e,g., spandex, rayon, and
acetate), plastic or paint.
Avoid applying repellents to portions of children's
hands that are likely to have contact with eyes
use on a child's face, apply to adult hands
and then rub on child's face.
Minimize use of repellents in pregnant and nursing
Avoid use of repellents on wounds or irritated
Use repellent sparingly; one application will
last approximately 4 hours. Saturation does
not increase efficacy.
Wash repellent-treated skin after coming indoors.
a suspected reaction to insect repellents occurs,
wash treated skin, and call a physician. Take
the repellent container to the health care provider.
Based on Centers for Disease Control & Prevention,
Health Information for International Travel,
Insect repellents should contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide).
DEET can be used directly on the skin or clothing. The
World Health Organization recommends wearing anklets
dipped in repellent. Insect repellents should be applied
from dusk to dawn - the time malaria mosquitoes bite
the most. Reapply repellent when the weather is hot
and you perspire more. The American Academy of Pediatrics
recommends that children not apply repellents containing
more than 35% DEET. Examples of DEET-containing
insect repellents include:
MAXI DEET - Contains 95% DEET. Comes in
a spray pump. Available from Sawyer Products, Inc.
Jungle Juice 100 - Contains 95% DEET.
Available at REI stores.
Deep Woods for Sportsmen - Contains 100% DEET.
3M Ultrathon® (formerly available as HourGuard-12TM)
- contains 31.58% DEET. It is a slow-release, polymer-based
Sawyer, Controlled Release DEET Formula
- Contains 20% DEET with extended duration up to 24
hours. Available from Sawyer Products, Inc.
REPEL® Sun & Bug Stuff - Contains 19%
DEET and SPF 15.
Bite Block Sunscreen - Contains 19% DEET.
Available from Banana Boat (Playtex).
OFF!® - Contains 4.75, 7.125, 14.25 or
OFF! Skintastic® - Contains 9.5% DEET
and SPF 30.
Cutter® - Contains 6.65, 9.5, 21.85% or
DEET Plus - Contains 17.5% DEET.
Skedaddle Insect Protection (children)
- Contains 10% DEET.
Many insect repellents are available that do not contain
DEET. They usually contain citronella or other "natural"
ingredients, but their duration of action is short and
they are not considered as effective as DEET:
Bug Guard Mosquito Repellent SPF 15 -
Available from Avon.
Bug-Off - An all purpose formula derived
from plants; for mosquitos and black flies.
Fishing Friend Natural Bug Repellent -
Available from Demeter Fragrances.
Lemongrass Insect Lotion - Contains citronella
and other natural oils. Available at The Nature Company.
Outdoor Bug Repelling Sunscreen Lotion
- Contains citronella. Available in three scents from
Bath and Body Works.
Insect Repelling Wristband - Contains
DEET encapsulated in a plastic matrix so it will not
touch the skin. Supposedly releases a vapor that repels
flying insects. May be used by children and adults.
To order direct, call 1 (800) 980-5678.
Citronella, Skin So Soft, and high-piercing-sound
devices are not considered effective.
There are many other techniques that are useful to
prevent mosquito bites.
- Use pyrethrum flying-insect spray (for example,
Raid®) - spray in living and sleeping areas during
evening hours and at night, while also using DEET-containing
- Permethrin 0.5% (available as REPEL Permanone)
may be sprayed on clothing or on mosquito netting,
although soaking is the preferred method. It maintains
potency from 2 to 6 weeks even with laundering. If
used on the skin, it becomes deactivated very quickly.
- Avoid being outside at twilight and at night. Stay
indoors or in a well-screened area as much as possible
from dusk to dawn.
- Wear loose clothing with high necklines, long sleeves,
and long pants. All clothes should fit snugly around
the neck, ankles, and wrists.
- Avoid sheer fabrics, bright colors, shiny jewelry,
perfumes, scented soaps or shampoos, after-shave lotions,
open sandals. Light-colored clothing is best (some
authorities believe mosquitoes are attracted to the
- Don't go barefoot.
- Consider sleeping under a net. Be sure the net
is tucked in and is not torn. Be sure there are no
mosquitoes inside the net and consider spraying the
net with permethrin.
- Consider using pyrethroid mosquito coils that burn
slowly through the night.
Several portable mosquito nets are available:
- The Indoor Travel Tent. Call (800) 359-6040. Write
Long Road Travel Supplies, P.O. Box 638, Alameda,
- LaMosquette. Call (716) 754-4883 (U.S) or (519)
836-0102 (Canada). Write IAMAT, 417 Center Street,
Lewiston, NY 14092.
- SleepScreen I, SleepScreen II, The Spider and TropicScreen.
Call (800) 872-8633 (U.S. and Canada). Write Travel
Medicine, Inc., 351 Pleasant St., Suite 312, Northampton,
If you're living or staying in a malarious area, mosquito
nets will most likely be available locally.
Health Information for International Travel 2000-2001,
DHHS, Atlanta, GA, 2001; WHO,
International Travel and Health, 2002, Geneva;
and Dr. Richard Thompson's book
Well on the Road - A
Practical Guide for the International Traveler, 2002.