How to avoid and alleviate mosquito bites
Mosquitoes are annoying and their bites itch something fierce. But, there are some easy steps you can take at home and in the great outdoors to minimize your exposure to the pests. There’s a variety of safe and effective topical mosquito repellents to choose from. There are also several good-to-great methods of keeping mosquitoes out of areas such as your entire patio. If you can’t repel them all, consider treating your yard to kill as many as possible and prevent their recolonization. Finally, if you do get bitten, there’s a host of topical creams and other products that can offer substantial relief.
Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) is among the most well-known ingredients in repellents. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), scientists have yet to see any negative health outcomes associated with topical DEET use. It does smell harsh and feels greasy and pore-clogging. It’s also not outlandish to confuse DEET with DDT, a dangerous pesticide that’s no longer in use in the United States. However, an expanding body of research illustrates that other chemicals are about as effective and, in some cases, more so than DEET.
If you can’t stand DEET’s smell or texture, there are other options. Some use the extract of lemon eucalyptus since it smells fantastic and is comfortable to apply. Inside that extract, a chemical called PMD works to repel mosquitoes with roughly the same effectiveness as DEET. Some PMD formulations also show longer-lasting effects.
A 20% DEET Premium Controlled-Release Lotion will work well against mosquitoes, but Dr. Zimring says he prefers the 20% Picaridin lotion since it also protects against ticks, gnats, chiggers, and flies. (In both instances, he recommends Sawyer brand.)
Part of spending time outside means battling ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. For this, Nelson swears by permethrin.
And out of the products we tested, Dr. Zeichner highly recommends Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent.