Repellents are More Important Than Ever

With Zika now added to the list of insect transmitted viruses circulating this summer, outdoor enthusiasts are looking for the most effective means of preventing bug bites. Finding an effect mosquito repellent that keeps bugs away yet doesn’t introduce high levels of dangerous toxins can seem like an overwhelming task.

All repellents have their pros and cons. DEET has been around for decades. It repels disease-causing species of ticks, mosquitos, and other pests but, occasionally, can cause skin and eye irritation. DEET is one of the most popular ingredients in repellents today.

Picaridin, which has just been approved by WHO (World Health Organization) is a relative newcomer to the insect repellant scene. Tests show that it is as effective as DEET without the skin irritation and propensity to dissolve plastic. It can last anywhere from 3.5 to 14 hours depending on the concentration.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus/PMD is extracted from the Australian Eucalyptus tree. It has high levels of PMD, which repels insects. It does not have the longevity of DEET or Picaridin.

IR3535 is a synthetic mix meant to mimic the effects of amino acid B-alanine. It performs well against mosquitos that carry the West Nile virus but it has been known to irritate eyes.

As insect related illness spreads, it is more important than ever to be protected from bites. While all repellants have some levels of toxicity, weighing the risk of getting a disease versus the discomforts of an irritating repellant means prevention is your greatest ally.

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