Summertime brings us outside. When summer occurs during times of COVID, we become more creative with activities for our families. This means more people will be outside exploring new areas. Staying active outside is a wonderful activity, if you and your children are protected from sunburns and insects. Most children have mild reactions to insect bites, but some can make your child feel miserable. Below are recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for using insect repellents correctly and safely.
“Insect repellents come in many forms, including aerosols, sprays, liquids, creams, and sticks. Some are made from chemicals and some have natural ingredients. Insect repellents prevent bites from biting insects but not stinging insects. Biting insects include mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers, and biting flies. Stinging insects include bees, hornets, and wasps.”
Products not listed in this table, that are not effective include: wristbands containing repellents, Vitamin B1 or garlic taken orally, devices that produce ultrasonic sound waves, and bug zappers.
Occasionally we hear parent concerns about DEET, a chemical in insect repellents. We follow the recommendations from the AAP that DEET is the “gold standard” of insect repellents and is “safe and effective when used according to the directions on the product labels.” The strength recommended for children is 10-30 % DEET and it should not be used on an infant under 2 months of age. Guidelines for application of DEET-based repellents are as follows:
In addition to application of insect repellents, we can protect our families in other ways as well.
Rarely, insect repellents can cause a rash or reaction. If this has occurred, wash with soap and water and call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or our office. If it appears to you that your child’s insect bite is becoming infected, or you are concerned, please call our office.