Once again it’s time to start our yearly battle with biting insects.  Mosquitoes, ticks, sandflies and mites transmit a number of diseases including Malaria, Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus to name a few.

A number of EPA-registered insect repellents are available in the US to help prevent bites from these rascally little pests.   Following is a list of insect repellents and some important points about each.

  1. DEET (Products include: OFF, Repel Hunters Formula, Sawyer Insect Repellent, Ultrathon Insect Repellent)
    1. Considered the Gold Standard for repelling mosquitoes.
    2. Safe for pregnant women and children over 2 months of age. Children should use the lower concentrations of DEET.
    3. The higher the concentration of DEET the longer the protection. For example DEET 23.8% provides 5 hours or protection while DEET 4.75% provides 1.5 hours of protection.
    4. DEET may damage some synthetic fabrics and may have an odor and an oily, sticky feel.
  2. IR3535 (Products include: Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535, Coleman Skin Smart)
    1. Safe for pregnant women and children 2 months of age and older.
    2. May damage plastic and clothing.
  3. Picaridin (Products include: Avon Skin-So-Soft Plus Picaridin, Off FamilyCare Insect Repellent II (Clean Feel), Sawyer Fisherman’s Formula picardin, Natrapel 8 hour)
    1. 20% protects for up to eight hours against ticks and black flies and up to 7 hours against mosquitoes.
    2. Safe for pregnant women and children two months of age and older.
    3. Works as well as DEET.
    4. No odor or stick feel and will not damage plastics or clothing.

If you are using both sunscreen and bug repellent to apply the sunscreen first, wait half an hour then apply the insect repellent.

Remember at Alliance Community Pharmacy we are happy to help you sort through the vast number of products and find the repellent best suited for you and your family.