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Bug Safety

  • DEET-containing products are the most effective mosquito repellents available. DEET also is effective as a repellent against a variety of other insects, including ticks.
  • Bug repellents appropriate for use on children should contain no more than 30 percent DEET. Products with concentrations around 10% are effective for periods of approximately two hours. The higher the concentration of DEET, the longer the product stays effective; for example, a concentration of about 24% has been shown to provide an average of 5 hours of protection. Try to select the lowest concentration effective for the amount of time spent outdoors.
  • Do not use combination sunscreen/bug repellant products because sunscreen should be reapplied every several hours and DEET containing products should only be applied once a day.
  • Apply DEET sparingly on exposed skin; do not use under clothing.
  • 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 in enclosed areas; do not use DEET near food.
  • Do not use DEET on infants under 2 months of age.
  • Avoid areas where insects nest or congregate, such as stagnant pools of water, uncovered foods and gardens where flowers are in bloom.
  • Don’t use scented soaps, perfumes or hair sprays on your child.
  • Avoid dressing your child in clothing with bright colors or flowery prints.
  • To remove a visible stinger from skin, gently scrape it off horizontally with a credit card or your fingernail. You can also remove a stinger by pinching it out with a pair of tweezers or your fingers.