We all know that mosquito are harmful. They bite, they buzz, they ruin cook-outs, weddings, days at the beach….they are a nuisance and a threat. But we have the choice to repel these flying disease spreading critters. There are so many products available to help you in your task. The only problem is that we sometimes choose the wrong repellants for the wrong purposes. We have to be very careful when choosing repellants for children and pets. Some of the ingredients in stronger repellants can be dangerous for small children and deadly to some animals.
The best protection available is found in products containing the ingredient DEET. DEET is a safe active ingredient that is proven to repel insects, mostly mosquitos, for several hours on adults and children. According to the Centers for Disease Control the most effective repellants contain DEET and picaridin. Permethrin is also a highly used active ingredient in repellant products.
Parents often have trouble choosing a repellant for their kids. The answer comes from American Academy of Pediatrics which states that repellants with DEET are safe to use on children. The general rule is that products with higher concentrations aren’t necessarily stronger than those with lesser concentrations- they simply last longer. The EPA states that there is no limit on the percentage of DEET in products used for children but this does not mean you should automatically use the highest form of DEET you can find. Just figure the time your child will be outdoors and use the proper product for that time slot. If they will be outdoors for only a few hours use a product with less than 10% DEET. The “OFF” brand of repellant has some excellent products for use on children. OFF Family Care brand has 5,7, or 15% DEET and is great for the whole family.
The AAP suggest using repellant with low concentrations of DEET on infants over 2 months old. Other guidelines suggest using DEET after children are 2 years of age or older. So use your personal choice as a guide.
For adults the concentration of DEET in the product used should be between 10-30%. Though 30% is seemingly high it should be considered that an application of 30% DEET will only last slightly longer than an application of 10-20% DEET. It depends on your personal preferences as to what you feel is best and what you should use on your body.
For large animals such as horses a special repellant ingredient is used with great results. Use repellants containing Permethrin for horses. Use caution with products containing permethrin as it is toxic to fish and Cats, plus it can be harmful to beneficial insects such as honey bees, aquatic life, and small mammals such as mice. This ingredient can also be used to kill parasites on chickens and other poultry. Dogs, cats, and other indoor animals such as ferrets that are susceptible to mosquitos should be given topical treatments. You can buy treatment for dogs, cats, and ferrets at your local veterinarians office.