In light of the growing threat from Zika virus and other mosquito borne disease many people are turning to mosquito repellent to prevent bites and subsequent infection.
What is Mosquito Repellent?
Mosquito repellent is a substance which discourages and prevents mosquitoes from crawling or sitting on a variety of surfaces. It can safely be applied to clothes, human skin and other surfaces. There are a wide range of mosquito repellents available. They offer protection from the dreaded mosquito bites for varying lengths of time and with varying levels of effectiveness.
How Does Mosquito Repellent Work?
Repellents, it must be noted, are not designed to kill mosquitoes. Instead they cause humans to be less attractive to mosquitoes and prevent bites by discouraging the mosquito’s desire to bite the exposed skin. A really effective mosquito repellent need only been applied once and should provide protection from bites for several hours. It is important that the repellent is spread over all exposed skin to ensure that mosquitoes do not bite bare skin.
What Mosquito Repellent You Should Use?
Mosquito repellents can be dividing into two different categories. These classifications are those which are made with synthetic chemicals and those that are derived from plant chemicals.
DEET is an example of a synthetic chemical and is widely believed to be the most effective. It is the most extensively used mosquito repellent throughout the United States. The most effective brands of DEET have a higher DEET concentration however some precautions should be taken and it may not be suitable for use over prolonged periods or for use with younger children. Care needs to be taken not to get DEET in your eyes and young children should not be allowed to apply DEEt themselves.
Picaridin is another popular and effective synthetic mosquito repellent. It is considered less toxic and has a more agreeable smell than DEET.
Permethrin repellent is used to infuse clothes, camping gear and sleeping nets. It is not safe to apply directly to skin.
Citronella oil is a well known and common ingredient used in various brands of plant-based mosquito repellents. It contains Geraniol which researchers believe is an effective repellent to rival DEET although it only provides protection from mosquito bites for around 3 or 4 hours.