Use of Insect Repellents

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Mosquito-Borne Viral Diseases. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Use of Insect Repellents

Insect repellents should be used when outside and you should follow the directions on the repellent. It must contain at least 20% DEET and be EPA-registered. The CDC lists, but does not recommend any particular brand. The higher the percentage of DEET (up to 50%), the longer it lasts. Be sure to reapply as instructed on the label directions.
Picaridin, lemon eucalyptus oil, para-menthane-diol, and IR3535 can also be used for mosquitoes, but not ticks or bugs.
Sunscreen should be applied first and allowed to dry before applying repellent. Products that contain both sunscreen and repellent are not recommended by the CDC.
Children should have repellent applied by adults so that they do not get it on their hands and then put their hands in their mouths. Repellents cannot be used on babies under two months of age. Instead, drape a mosquito net tightly over their carrier or stroller. Children under three years old cannot use lemon eucalyptus oil or para-menthane-diol, Repellents are safe for pregnant and nursing women if used correctly.

Pregnant woman applying insect repellent. Courtesy of CDC.