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Things to Keep in Mind When Using a DEET-based Bug Spray

September 28, 2018

Warmth and humidity are perfect weather conditions for all kinds of bugs to thrive. Steering clear of bug bites is, therefore, important during this time of the year. Insect repellent sprays with a DEET base are a popular choice for this purpose, but, it is essential to use them with some precaution.

Barbeque parties in your backyard, leisurely hikes through the woods, camping – these are all summertime activities that most of us look forward to with great excitement after having braved the dreary winter months. While it is an excellent idea to soak up the sun, it is also vital to avoid getting bitten by pesky bugs that are rampant during this time of the year. Insect bites can cause a range of physical symptoms from immediate responses like localized itching, rashes and pain to extreme allergic reactions like muscular spasms, fever, swollen throat, and shortness of breath. Besides, insects like mosquitoes and ticks are carriers of pathogens that can cause nasty illnesses like dengue fever, malaria, and Lyme disease, all of which have painful symptoms.

Many insect repellents have inundated the markets over the years, but, so far the most effective of these are the ones that contain a compound known as DEET. DEET stands for N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. This chemical has been proven to be very reliable when it comes to repelling a wide variety of insects and ticks that can transmit many ailments with a single bite.

It is crucial, though, to follow some precautionary measures while using sprays and lotions that contain DEET to avoid any side-effects. Here are some of the things that you should bear in mind the next time you reach out for that bottle of DEET infused insect repellent:

  1. Avoid Sunscreen-DEET Combinations – When you are spending a lot of time outdoors, it is crucial to slather on sunscreen frequently to keep you safe from the harmful radiations from the sun. On the other hand, a DEET-based insect repellent need not be applied more than a couple of times during the day as its effects last longer. To avoid over-exposure to DEET, keep your sunscreen and insect repellent separate.

  2. Do Not Spray Injured Skin – Cuts, scrapes, sunburnt patches, and irritated skin should not be sprayed with DEET-based repellents as this could lead to worsening of the original issue. Cover such areas before you apply the product on adjacent portions of the skin.

  3. Avoid Spraying the Face – Remember giving the face a miss when applying a repellent. By doing so, you can prevent DEET from entering the mouth and eyes.

  4. Wash Up – Once you are back indoors, wash the sprayed areas with soap and water thoroughly so that all traces of the chemical are removed from your body. Ensure that the clothes you were wearing, when you sprayed on the repellent, are also laundered before wearing them a second time.

  5. Gauge Your Requirement – All kinds of DEET-based sprays are available in stores. You can choose from ones that contain as low as 6 to 7 percent of DEET to those that have 50 percent of it. Select a product wisely. If you are not going to be outside for more than 2 hours, a lower concentration product will work just fine. If you are intending on spending over 5 hours in the open, then consider using a higher concentration variant.

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