No items found.

It’s Buggin’ Me! How to Safely Use an Insect Repellent

Why Should I Use an Insect Repellent?

The use of insect repellents is a safe and effective way to prevent insect and tick-borne diseases.

Mosquito bites can lead to:

  • West Nile virus
  • Zika virus
  • Malaria
  • Dengue fever
  • Chikungunya virus
  • Encephalitis
  • Yellow Fever (rare in the US)

while the small deer tick can cause Lyme disease. Other tick-borne diseases include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Powassan virus, Ehrlichiosis and Encephalitis.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strongly recommends the use of insect repellents to prevent transmission of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. Most cases of malaria diagnosed in the U.S. originate from other parts of the world.

How Do Insect Repellents Work?

Many insects like mosquitoes are attracted to the host because of their skin odors and carbon dioxide from their breath.

Repellents contain an ingredient that makes the person 'unattractive' for biting; however, repellents do not kill the insect. Repellents are effective only at short distances from the treated surface, so the user may still see mosquitoes flying nearby.

In the warmer months it is important to use an insect repellent; in tropical climates it may be needed year-round.

Here's a tip if you're an avid gardener or hiking: insects and arachnids that bite in self-defense instead of for feeding -- such as bees, some ants, yellow jackets, wasps, hornets or spiders -- cannot be fought off with insect repellents.

Continue reading the complete article on safely using insect repellents medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson PharmD here.

LAST UPDATED

October 30, 2023

Written by
Photo thumbnail Blog Author

Drugs.com

Media Mentions from Drugs.com

Drugs.com is the largest, most widely visited, independent medicine information website available on the Internet. Our aim is to be the Internet’s most trusted resource for drug and related health information. We will achieve this aim by presenting independent, objective, comprehensive and up-to-date information in a clear and concise format for both consumers and healthcare professionals.

Explore More Content

Media Mentions

Sawyer Insect Repellent is a versatile picaridin spray recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as safe and effective for most people. Our testers liked the evaporating smell and how the spray feels once it dries.

Media Mentions

Insects and arachnids that bite in self-defense instead of to feed -- such as yellow jackets, bees, wasps, hornets, certain ants or spiders -- cannot be repelled with insect repellents.

Drugs.com
Media Mentions from Drugs.com

Media Mentions

The number of bug-borne diseases is increasing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the number of places they're spreading to is also on the rise.

WXYZ Detroit 7
Media Mentions from WXYZ Detroit 7