Bug off: What to Look for in Mosquito Repellents

mosquito bites

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Reconnecting with nature and the outdoors is set to be a huge part of everyone’s lives in the coming months. This has become especially relevant as people were forced to spend more than a year in their own homes due to government restrictions, like localized lockdowns and shelter-in-place measures, against the global pandemic.

Moreover, the summer months are able to provide the best opportunity for you to carry out your outdoor activities with friends and family. It’s important to note, however, that there are also certain pests you have to be wary of when it comes to planning hikes, camping, and similar activities. Among these, mosquitoes prove to be the most significant threats to be on the lookout for.

Mosquitoes are some of the deadliest types of disease carriers, so it’s crucial to protect yourself from them. Mosquito-borne illnesses have been reported to kill more than 1 million people and infect approximately 7 million people around the world each year. These diseases include dengue, malaria, the West Nile virus, and the Zika virus to name a few.

Keep Them at Bay

Additionally, these pests usually become more active during the warmer months. Their breeding season can also start as early as May and last until the end of September. This is why it’s important to invest in mosquito control solutions for your home that can guarantee results. Look for professionals that don’t just kill mosquitoes but also disrupt their breeding patterns to make sure your home is safe for the summer.

If you have plans on doing outdoor activities, on the other hand, it’s also important to come equipped with the necessary tools to prevent disease-carrying mosquitoes to transmit harmful parasites and pathogens to you. While there are plenty of tried and tested items out there from bug zappers to citronella candles, insect repellents prove to be the most practical supplies when you’re out in nature.

However, not all repellents are able to provide the same levels of protection against mosquitoes. There are certain things you have to look for when choosing a bug repellent that will suit your needs. Here are a few of them.

The Right Composition

When looking for repellents that are the most effective against mosquitoes, make sure to look at what the active ingredient of the product is. Active ingredients will vary depending on the type of bug you are looking to ward off.

Mosquito repellents will usually have citronella and IR3535 as their active ingredients, but DEET and picaridin are also good alternatives. Moreover, look into how and where your repellent should be applied. While most mosquito repellents can be applied directly to your skin, other solutions should only be used on your clothing and gear because they could prove to have harmful effects.

For a Long Time

putting a mosquito repellent

You should also consider the length of effectiveness of a particular product relative to how long you’re expecting to stay outdoors. Certain outdoor activities can last from anywhere between less than four hours to almost 16  hours of you being out in nature.

Most of the mosquito repellents that are widely available will usually only last for 12 hours until you need to reapply them again. The coverage of a repellent will often be determined by the percentage of active ingredients it was made with. If you’re looking for a product to shield you against mosquitoes for a long time, you could go for ones with higher concentrations of their active ingredients.

Kid-safe Products

If you’re planning on traveling with your family and you’ll have children with you, it’s important to know whether the repellent you have is safe for them to use. Generally, most of the formulas in repellents are safe for children that are over 2 months old according to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, you should assist children under 10 years of age when applying a repellent. You should also be careful to avoid the eyes and mouth area when putting repellents on. As much as possible, do not let them use these products by themselves. Certain products will also provide necessary precautions on their labels, so read and follow them accordingly.

Out and About

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a useful tool online that will help you find the right repellent for your needs. You could also use this if you’re still having trouble looking for a product that’s effective against mosquitoes.

There are also novel species that have been discovered in the US, some of which can prove to be deadlier compared to the more common mosquitoes that you’re used to. Make sure to read the necessary information regarding these new threats and how you can protect yourself against them. Nonetheless, don’t let a couple of pests stop you from getting some much-needed fresh air outdoors.

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