As temperatures rise and you and your family spend more time outdoors, it is important to take precautions and avoid biting and stinging insects. To help protect you and maximize everyone’s safe play time, here are some tips on using insect repellents.
- Read product labels. The labels contain information about active ingredients, instructions for safe use, and what to do in case of unintended exposures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using products that list an EPA Registration Number.
- Follow the application instructions. Do not spray directly onto the face, open cuts, or irritated skin. Do not apply to a child’s hands and do not allow children to handle the product or apply to themselves.
- Store safely. Keep products in locations out of sight and out of reach of children.
- Considered the gold standard for insect repellent
- Approved for use on children above 2 months of age
- No restrictions on the percentage of DEET that can be used on children
- Has not been found to cause environmental damage.
Other Plant-Based Products
- CDC recognizes some eucalyptus and citronella plant-based products as effective repellents or protectants
- Products containing eucalyptus (sometimes called PMD) are not recommended for use on children under 3 years of age
- Products generally don’t last as long and may have to be applied more frequently
Preventing Insect Bites
- Wear pants and long sleeves to cover skin
- Check yourself, children, and pets for ticks
- Fix all window and door screens
- Eliminate mosquito breeding areas by emptying sources of standing water like outdoor pet dishes and plant saucers
For questions or concerns about exposures and applications of insect repellents, contact the specialists at the Washington Poison Center for free, confidential advice 24/7: 1-800-222-1222
If you or a family member is having an allergic reaction to a bite, with symptoms like trouble breathing, swelling of the face or mouth, tightening of the throat, call 911 immediately.