Bugs are a nuisance, but bug bites can be a big pain! The red bumps are bad enough, but the itchiness keeps me from sleeping, because all I want to do is scratch all night long! Aside from these obvious discomforts, mosquitoes can also carry serious diseases such as West Nile Virus and ticks can carry Lyme disease. This frightens me!
I try to prevent bug bites by staying indoors at dusk, or by covering up if I’m outside during this time. As a family, we enjoy the outdoors and I don’t want my worry to keep us inside.
DEET and Icaridin
I also like to know exactly what products I’m using on my growing and developing kids and what insect repellents are safe for young kids and older kids to use.
Can I use DEET and how much? What’s Icaridin? I know it was approved by Health Canada in 2012, but is it safe?
Here’s what I learned: Icaridin is the preferred repellent for children, with DEET as the second choice. The World Health Organization recommends it as a “safe and effective insect repellent for human use” and as effective as DEET.
Health Canada recommendations for DEET:
• 10% DEET up to three times daily for those 2 to 12 years
• once daily for children 6 months to 2 years
• not be used on infants under 6 months
Health Canada recommendations for ICARIDIN:
• 20% Icaridin up to three times daily for children aged 6 months or older
• Not be used on infants under 6 months of age
Tips to remember:
• Read the product labels carefully and follow the directions.
• Only use products that have a Pest Control Product registration number and are labelled as insect repellents for use on humans.
• Young children should not apply DEET or Icaridin products themselves.
• Apply the product to your hands and then put it on your child’s skin, avoiding the eyes, mouth and palms of their hands.
• It is best to use liquid or cream repellents that can be applied by hand.
• Wash all treated skin and clothing after returning indoors.
• Store DEET or Icaridin, like other chemicals, out of reach from children.
Non-DEET or Non-Icaridin repellents are available in Canada as well, although data on their safety and effectiveness is sparse. Read the manufacturers’ label carefully if you chose to use these products.
So enjoy the outdoors this summer and take the bite out of bug bites with the right insect repellent for you.
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.
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