Mosquitoes are not just bothersome insects; they are also dangerous ones capable of transmitting fatal diseases such as dengue and West Nile Virus. Carrying insect repellent or readily applying it on your skin when you go outside becomes a necessary precaution. Whether in the form of a lotion or spray, mosquito repellents work by creating a protective layer over your skin that gives off an odor that is unpleasant to mosquitoes. The repellent also overpowers the scent of the chemical compounds that our skin excretes naturally, which mosquitoes are drawn to.

The active ingredient of the most effective mosquito repellents is the chemical compound N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, which is simply called DEET. Another active ingredient that may be used in other repellents is a plant-derived chemical called Citronella. Oil of lemon eucalyptus has also proven to be effective.

DEET-repelent-insecte

DEET-repelent-insecte—ingserban (Flickr.com)

The best mosquito repellents can give up to five hours of protection

, which is exclusive of activities that might contribute to it wearing off faster. Lots of sweating or contact on surfaces will lessen the efficacy of the repellent. You can re-apply it on your skin, but check the label first on how frequently you should. More doesn’t necessarily mean better, since there might be chemicals in the repellent that are harmful if used in abundance.

For all the safety that mosquito repellents provide, there are still the necessary precautions to be made before you use them. Babies under two months of age should not be applied with repellents that contain DEET. Invest in a mosquito net for your child instead. Similarly, check the label if there are any known ingredients in the repellent that you are allergic to. The label will usually indicate if there are any allergenic components. Also, do not apply repellent on sunburnt or broken skin. The same goes with wounds, cuts, and irritated skin, as the repellent may aggravate them.

Filed under: Mosquito Control

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