As summer approaches, kids and teenagers will have more time to spend outdoors. They can enjoy the sun and have more fun doing outdoor activities with friends and family members. While kids and teenagers anticipate with excitement, parents also become more concerned about insects and bugs that come out during the hot season. For protection, parents use insect repellents to help ward off the bugs.
While insect repellents bought at the supermarket can be effective in trying to stave off mosquitoes and other insects, they might contain chemicals that have been found to be harmful. Some insect repellents for example may contain DEET or permethrin. While they are effective in warding off bugs, they are not necessarily safe. DEET has been found to be a neurotoxin that may have long-term effects on a child’s health. They have been linked to headaches, rashes, and other symptoms. Permethrin, on the other hand, is suspected as a potential carcinogen and can disrupt endocrine and nervous systems. Using them on your kids may not be as safe as you think they might be. But if you still wish to protect your kids from the same bugs that these chemical insect repellents do, there are alternatives available.
Practice preventive options.
A good way to protect kids from the bugs is by having them wear long sleeved shirts and long pants when going outdoors. This will help lessen the skin area that may be open for insects. Wearing clothes with colors that blend in with the background can also help. Refrain from putting scented products on your kids when they are going outdoors. Insects are attracted to such products.
Consider using natural insect repellent alternatives.
Aside from harmful DEET and permethrin as effective insect repellents, there are also other natural alternatives available. Instead of chemical compounds, these insect repellent alternatives make use of effective insect repellents from natural sources. Here are some of them:
- Lemon eucalyptus oil– studies show that lemon eucalyptus is an effective natural insect repellent. It is especially good against mosquitoes. It is effective enough to provide up to six hours of protection against mosquitoes and other insects.
- Soybean oil– another effective DEET alternative, soybean oil is effective in repelling mosquitoes and other bugs.
- Citronella oil– used as a natural insect repellent for many decades, citronella oil is also a good alternative. Although it is not as effective as DEET in warding off mosquitoes, there are certain natural formulations that can help drive mosquitoes away.
In case there is a need to use DEET insect repellents, parents should be aware not to use them on babies less than two months old. Make use only of DEET products with 30 percent formulations. Studies show that higher concentrations of DEET on some insect repellents do not offer additional protection. Do not allow kids to apply the insect repellent themselves. When doing so, make sure that you avoid certain areas such as the mouth, eyes, and hands as well as in open wounds.