Insect Bites (cont.)
You can minimize your exposure to insect bites by changing your patterns of activity or behavior.
- Some vector mosquitoes are most active in twilight periods at dawn and dusk or in the evening, so avoid outdoor activity during these periods.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats to minimize the areas of exposed skin. Shirts should be tucked in.
- Use insect repellants. Repellents applied to clothing, shoes, tents, mosquito nets, and other gear will enhance protection.
- Permethrin-containing repellents (Permanone) are recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear. Permethrin is highly effective as an insecticide/acaricide (against ticks and mites) and as a repellent. Permethrin-treated clothing repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes, and other arthropods and retains this effect after repeated laundering. Such treated clothing is thought to pose little danger for poisoning to humans wearing it.
- Repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide) as an active ingredient are recommended by most authorities. A common commercial repellant that contains this chemical is the brand name OFF. DEET repels mosquitoes, ticks, and other arthropods when applied to skin or clothing. Formulations containing less than 35% DEET are recommended because the additional gain in repellent effect with higher concentrations is not significant when weighed against the potential for toxicity, which include rare cases of encephalopathy (brain infection) in children.
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
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