Keep the Bugs at Bay...Safely
As the warm weather descends upon us, so do the bugs, and from the mild annoyance of a mosquito bite to the more nefarious health issues associated with insects like ticks, protecting yourself from pests should be priority one as you enjoy the outdoors.
Here are some common-sense safety reminders for using insect repellent, and some creative ways to stay bug-free.
- When using an insect repellent, always read the entire label carefully before using, and follow all directions. This includes restrictions for use on children and the maximum number of applications allowed per day.
- Keep in mind that insect repellents are proven to work against only the insects listed on the label.
- Apply only a small amount of repellent on exposed skin or on top of clothing. (You don't need a lot for it to be effective.)
- Never spray insect repellents directly into your face. Spray on your hands first and then apply to your face.
- Keep all insect repellent containers out of reach and sight of children and pets and supervise the application of insect repellents on children. Avoid applying repellent to children's hands to reduce the chance of their getting repellent in their eyes and mouths.
- If you are concerned that you might be sensitive to a product, apply the product to a small area of skin on your arm and wait 24 hours to see if you have a reaction.
If you’re looking for a chemical-free way to keep bugs away, try some of these natural repellants:
- Put a dryer sheet in your pocket when hiking or at the lake.
- Mix cinnamon in the kids’ sandbox.
- Mix vanilla extract in a jar of water and add in some lemongrass, lavender or mint essential oil for a lovely smelling repellent at your outdoor gathering.
- Switch to unscented toiletries. All those nice-smelling lotions, soaps and hair products are attractive to bugs. Consider using unscented varieties at least for peak insect season.
- Wear light-colored clothing. Mosquitoes, in particular, are attracted to darker colors.