With summer here, bugs are out in full swing. Bug bites can of course be uncomfortable and itchy but mosquitoes and other critters can carry West Nile virus, Zika, and Lyme disease (to name a few!), so it’s important to keep your skin protected. Here are some of our tips to keep you and your family safe this summer.

  • Dusk and evening are primetime mosquito activity; so try to wear high socks and pants to protect your ankles and legs
  • Pre-treat clothing with insect repellant before going outdoors
  • What insect repellant to buy? Look for EPA-approved insect repellants that contain one of the following active ingredients: 
    • DEET
    • Picaridin
    • IR3535
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus
    • Para-menthane-diol
  • There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about DEET. However, many studies have been performed demonstrating its safety and efficacy. The EPA reviewed its safety and efficacy in 1998 and again in 2014, demonstrating rare adverse effects. Concentrations of 20-30% are sufficient and can be effective for many hours. DEET has also been shown to be safe in pregnancy and is approved for use in the second and third trimester by the FDA. The American Academy of Pediatrics approves of DEET use in children over the age of two years old, but the concentration should not exceed 33%.
  • Picardin is a nice alternative to DEET as it does not feel sticky or greasy and is odorless. It has been shown to be quite effective, comparable to DEET in many studies.
  • Need both sunscreen and insect repellant? We recommend that you apply sunscreen first (let dry) and repellant afterward. We advise against combined agents, as it’s important to apply sunscreen in larger quantity than repellant, which should be applied sparingly
  • For symptom control of bites, an over the counter cortisone can help or see your dermatologist if you need something a little stronger


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