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Best Insect Repellents for Your Family

Consumer Reports

With the weather warming and days lengthening, you may already be making plans for outdoor adventures like camping, hiking, or simply hosting a barbecue to reconnect with (vaccinated) friends. Even if you’re not straying from your own backyard, protecting against the many diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes is an important precaution.

A key component of personal protection is insect repellents. That’s where Consumer Reports’ insect repellent ratings come in. This year, we have 45 repellents in our ratings, and 23 recommended ones, so it’s easy to find an effective way to beat the bugs that’s right for you and your family.

The number of bug-borne diseases is increasing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not only are new diseases appearing—the agency says that since 2004, at least nine new mosquito- and tick-borne diseases have been reported in the U.S. and its territories—but familiar ones are increasing in number. In a recent study, the CDC estimated that 476,000 cases of Lyme disease occurred in the U.S. each year between 2010 and 2018—a significant increase from the agency's estimates of 329,000 annual cases in 2005–2010. And there’s always the possibility that previously obscure diseases, like Zika, could re-emerge as widespread threats.

“We need to continue growing our arsenal for controlling mosquitoes and ticks at the community level,” says Benjamin Haynes, a CDC spokesman. “And personal protection will always be most important.”

The good news is that there are a lot of insect repellents to choose from, such as sprays, lotions, and wipes, and they contain a range of active ingredients—that is, the ingredients that make the repellents work.

But these products are not equally effective.

Head here to find the complete article.

LAST UPDATED

May 7, 2022

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Of all the creepy crawlers, ticks keep me on high alert. They can be very tiny in the nymph stage and difficult to see. They love to hang out in tall grasses along the trail and hitch a ride on hikers passing by. I plan on treating most of my clothes and gear with Sawyer Permethrin.

Joanne Gigliotti

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Ultra-compact and lightweight

House Grail
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I would often just drink directly from the sawyer squeeze if I was feeling lazy- which by the way works wonderfully.

Rachel McVittie