Using the best mosquito repellent safely and effectively

It is generally agreed that the best mosquito repellent that works most effectively will contain either DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) OR permethrin.

DEET based repellents can be used directly on skin and also applied to clothing.

Permethrin repellents are good for use on clothing but they should NOT BE APPLIED to skin. Both have proved to be very effective against a variety of biting insects.

You are advised to purchase an adequate quantity of recognized brand name best mosquito repellent for use throughout your vacation from a trustworthy supplier prior to your departure. You should not only consider how much repellent will be required for 'personal' application, but also ensure you are taking an appropriate product for liberal treatment of clothing fabrics and mosquito nets.

Reapply regularly!

Remember that perspiring, swimming or washing may mean that you need to re-apply even the best mosquito repellents more frequently. Repellents that contain higher proportions of active ingredient (such as DEET) will provide protection for longer periods.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites the following guidelines for calculating how frequently to apply insect repellent , based on scientific research into the effectiveness of the best mosquito repellents containing DEET:

% DEET contained.............Average length of protection

23.8.................................5 hours

20....................................almost 4 hours

6.65.................................almost 2 hours

4.75 (+2% soybean oil)........approx. 1 ½ hours

It is particularly important to remember to apply some of the best mosquito repellent before you go outside, or into an area mosquitoes are known to be a problem. The most likely time of day to be bitten is at dusk and dawn.

Follow these guidelines

The CDC also suggests further simple guidelines when using any of the best mosquito repellent containing DEET. Due to the occasional occurrence of 'sensitivity' or 'allergic reaction' to the products, these suggestions should be followed in order to minimize adverse reactions:

  • "Use enough repellent to cover exposed skin or clothing.(BUT) Do not apply repellent to skin that is under clothing. Heavy application is not necessary to achieve protection. If repellent is applied to clothing, wash treated clothing before wearing again.

  • Do not apply repellent to cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.

  • After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.

  • Do not spray aerosol or pump products in enclosed areas; do not breathe in.

  • Do not apply aerosol or pump products directly to the face. Spray your hands and then rub them carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.

  • When using repellent on a child, apply it to your own hands and then rub them on your child. Avoid the child's eyes and mouth and apply sparingly around the ears.

  • Do not apply repellent to children's hands. (Children tend to put their hands in their mouths.)

  • Do not allow children under ten years old to apply insect repellent to themselves; have an adult do it for them. Keep repellents out of reach of children.

  • Protect infants two months of age and under by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.

  • Bed nets, repellents containing DEET, and permethrin should be purchased before traveling and can be found in hardware, camping, sporting goods, and military surplus stores. Overseas, permethrin or another insecticide, deltamethrin, may be purchased to treat bed nets and clothes."

    Source: where you can also find additional information about the use of the best mosquito repellent and also about malaria generally.

    NOTE: DEET has been linked with nerve damage so should not be applied to babies or infants and is not advised for use by pregnant or lactating women.

    DISCLAIMER: This information has been collated from reputable sources but accepts no responsibility for its accuracy or completeness. It is NOT MEANT to replace the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. If you have ANY concerns about taking or using medication or insect repellents you are advised to refer to your GP/MD for advice.

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