Avoidance of insects is the best preventive measure against stings and bites. Suggestions for helping your child include:
- Avoid wooded areas and areas with standing water, especially at dusk and dawn.
- When outside, use netting or mesh screens over strollers.
- Do not use lotions or products containing perfumes.
- Avoid dressing your child in bright colors or flower print clothes.
- Keep your child covered with long-sleeved shirts and long pants if possible.
Use topical insect repellents containing DEET when outside. DEET is the most effective product that repels mosquitos, biting flies, chiggers, fleas and ticks. Examples of products that contain DEET:
- OFF Skintastic for Children
- OFF Deep Woods DEET
- Sawyer Controlled-Release DEET
Proper Use of DEET Products
- Apply a small amount of DEET on exposed skin; do not use under clothing.
- Do not apply more than once a day.
- Do not use DEET on the hands of young children.
- Avoid applying to areas around the eyes and mouth.
- Do not use DEET over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
- Wash treated skin with soap and water after returning indoors. Wash treated clothing.
- Avoid spraying DEET products in enclosed areas. Do not use DEET near food.
- DEET should not be used in children less than 2 months of age.
The maximum concentration of DEET recommended for use in children is 30 percent; this provides approximately eight hours of protection. Products containing 10 percent DEET provide about two hours of protection.
You should not use products containing both an insect repellent and a sunscreen. Sunscreen needs to be applied more often than insect repellent. Apply the sunscreen separately!
You may try topical products containing other chemicals, such as picaridin (found in Cutter Advanced and Natrapel products), but they are thought to be less effective than DEET. Other products include Avon SkinSoSoft, Bug Guard Plus and OFF Botanical. Products containing citronella are the least effective.
You may use 0.5 percent permethrin spray products to treat clothing. Permethrin is effective against ticks, ants, biting flies, fleas, chiggers and mosquitos. Products include Sawyer’s Permethrin Clothing Repellent and Sawyer’s Clothing Insect Repellent.
Proper Use of Permethrin Products
- Do not apply directly to the skin.
- Do not apply more than once every two weeks.
- Apply to clothing before getting dressed.
- You may treat netting, hats, sleeping bags and other items.
- Effectiveness lasts through six washes.
You may need to call a professional exterminator if you think there are fleas or bedbugs in your home.