How to apply insect repellent

applyrepellentHow to apply insect repellent

Repellents containing DEET are recommended for adults and children over 2 months of age and effective for several hours. Repellents with low amounts of DEET offer shorter-term protection and must be applied more often. Pregnant women and children up to 2 years of age are advised to use repellents containing no more than 30% DEET.

Apply insect repellent often

Repellents containing a higher percentage of the active ingredient typically provide longer-lasting protection. Regardless of what product you use, if you start to get mosquito bites, reapply the repellent according to the label instructions.

 Apply insect repellent safely

Always follow the recommendations appearing on the product label. EPA recommends the following when using insect repellents:

  1. Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label). Do not apply repellents under your clothing.
  2. Never use repellents over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
  3. Do not apply to eyes or mouth, and apply sparingly around ears. When using repellent sprays, do not spray directly on your face – spray on your hands first and then apply to your face.
  4. Do not allow children to handle or spray the product. When using on children, apply to your own hands first and then put it on the child. Avoid applying repellent to children’s hands because children frequently put their hands in their eyes and mouths.
  5. Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin and/or clothing. Heavy application does not give you better or longer lasting protection.
  6. After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water or bathe. This is particularly important when repellents are used repeatedly in a day or on consecutive days.
  7. If you (or your child) get a rash or other reaction from a repellent, stop using the repellent, wash the repellent off with mild soap and water, and ask help from a medical professional. If you go to a doctor, it might be helpful to take the repellent with you.

Apply sunscreen before insect repellent

People can, and should, use both a sunscreen and an insect repellent when they are outdoors. The recommendation is to apply sunscreen first, followed by repellent.

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