Mosquitos: How to Choose Use Insect Repellents (cont.)
Parents should choose the type and concentration of repellent to be used by
taking into account the amount of time that a child will be outdoors, exposure
to mosquitoes, and the risk of mosquito-transmitted disease in the area.
If you are concerned about using repellent products on children you may wish
to consult a health care provider for advice or contact the National Pesticide
Information Center (NPIC) through their toll-free number, 1-800-858-7378 or
Always follow the recommendations appearing on the product label when using
repellent on children.
- When using repellent on a child, apply it to your own
hands and then rub them on your child. Avoid children's eyes and mouth and use
it sparingly around their ears.
- Do not apply repellent to children's hands. (Children
may put their hands in their mouths.)
- Do not allow young children to apply insect repellent
to themselves; have an adult do it for them.
- Keep repellents out of reach of children.
- Do not apply repellent to skin under clothing. If repellent
is applied to clothing, wash treated clothing before wearing again.
In addition to wearing repellent, you can protect
yourself and your family by taking these
- Wear clothing with long pants and long sleeves while
outdoors. Apply DEET or other repellents such as permethrin to clothing, as
mosquitoes may bite through thin fabric. (Remember: don't use permethrin on
- Use mosquito netting over infant carriers.
- Reduce the number of mosquitoes in your area by getting rid of
containers with standing water that provide breeding places for the mosquitoes.
Using Insect Repellents Safely
- Always follow the instructions on the product label.
- Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing
(as directed on the product label.) Do not use repellents under clothing.
- Never use repellents over cuts, wounds or irritated
- Do not apply to eyes or mouth, and apply sparingly
around ears. When using sprays, do not spray directly on face-spray on hands
first and then apply to face.
- Do not allow children to handle the product. When
using on children, apply to your own hands first and then put it on the child.
You may not want to apply to children's hands.
- Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin
and/or clothing. Heavy application and saturation are generally unnecessary
for effectiveness. If biting insects do not respond to a thin film of
repellent, then apply a bit more.
- After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap
and water or bathe. This is particularly important when repellents are used
repeatedly in a day or on consecutive days. Also, wash treated clothing before
wearing it again. (This precaution may vary with different repellents-check
the product label.)
- If you or your child get a rash or other bad reaction
from an insect repellent, stop using the repellent, wash the repellent off with mild soap
and water, and call a local poison control center for further guidance. If
you go to a doctor because of the repellent, take the repellent with you to
show the doctor.
Note that the label for products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus specifies
that they should not to be used on children under the age of three years.
Other than those listed above, EPA does not recommend any additional
precautions for using registered repellents on pregnant or lactating women, or
Can I use an insect repellent and a product containing sunscreen at the
same time? What are the recommendations for combination sunscreen/insect
repellent products ?
Yes. People can, and should, use both a sunscreen and an insect repellent
when they are outdoors. Follow the instructions on the package for proper
application of each product. In general, the recommendation is to apply
sunscreen first, followed by repellent.
It is recommended NOT to use a single product that combines insect repellent
containing DEET and sunscreen, because the instructions for use of insect
repellents and use of sunscreen are different. In most situations, insect
repellent does not need to be reapplied as frequently as sunscreen. While no
recommendations are available at this time regarding products that combine other
active ingredients and sunscreen, it is important to always follow the label on
whatever product you are using.
To protect from sun exposure and insect bites, you can also wear long sleeves
and long pants. You can also apply insect repellent to your clothing, rather
than directly to your skin.
Important Information on Using Pesticides
EPA recommends the following precautions when using an insect repellent or
- Check the container to ensure that the product bears an EPA-approved label
and registration number. Never use a product that has not been approved
for use by EPA!
- Read the entire label before using a pesticide. Even if you have used it
before, read the label again - don't trust your memory.
- Follow use directions carefully, use only the amount directed, at the time
and under the conditions specified, and for the purpose listed. For example,
if you need a tick repellent, make
sure that the product label lists this use. If ticks are not listed, the
product may not be formulated for that use.
- Store pesticides away from children's reach, in a
locked utility cabinet
or garden shed.
For more, please visit the following areas:
The above information has been provided with the kind
permission of the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov).
Last Editorial Review: 7/24/2006