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Insect repellents

Choosing insect repellents

Insect repellents are available in various forms and concentrations. Many skin preparations are available, mostly containing di-ethyltoluamide (DEET).
DEET concentrations of around 30% are thought to be suitable for skin and stronger concenrations can be used on clothing.
For those allergic to DEET, alternatives include Dimethyl Pthalate (contained in 'shoo') or Lemon Eucalyptus oil (contained in 'Mosiguard').
Aerosol and pump-spray products are available which are suitable for treating clothing - if aerosols and pump sprays are used on skin it is best to spray liquid onto your hand and then rub onto exposed areas.
Liquid, creams, lotions and sticks are designed for skin application.

Using insect repellents safely

Clothes are the best protection - normally only use repellents on the remaining exposed areas of skin and shirt collars and cuffs and the ankle bottoms of trousers or slacks.
Repellants can damage plastics which may, for example, be used on watches and in contact lenses.
Mosquitoes can bite skin through skin-tight clothes - it is always best to wear loose fitting garments.
Never use repellents over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
Don't apply to eyes and mouth, and apply sparingly around ears. When using sprays do not spray directly onto the face; spray on hands first and then apply to face.
Do not allow young children to handle repellents - they may get them into their eyes. Apply to your own hands and to the child's skin.

Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin. Heavy application is unnecessary. After use, wash treated skin. This is particularly important when repellents are used repeatedly.
If you suspect that you or your children are reacting to an insect repellent, discontinue use, wash treated skin and then contact your doctor.
Always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
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