Pest control: Repellents

Insect bites are not only a bummer—they can cause allergies or, in some cases, spread disease. No repellents should be used on infants under two months. For older kids and adults, choose an effective solution and take precautions to limit exposure.

  •  Avoid sunscreen/bug repellant mixtures. Why? Because you should slather on the sunscreen, but use bug repellant with caution.
  •  Apply sparingly and wash up afterwards. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends for kids a single application, avoiding hands and face, and washing up immediately on returning inside.
  •  Use DEET with caution. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends for kids using no more than a 10% concentration once a day.
  •  Know what works. These remedies have not been proven effective: candles, yard treatment, bug zappers, ultrasonics or wristbands soaked in repellent.
  •  Use caution with essential oils. Citronella, lavender, and peppermint can provide limited protection for short amounts of time outdoors. But be careful: essential oils should not be applied to skin in concentrated form. They can also trigger allergies. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is not an essential oil, and should not be used on children.
  •  Dress to protect. A light-colored and lightweight shirt and pants are perhaps the best protection.

The way you maintain your home can make a big difference to your family’s health. Get a healthy homes checkup with our guide and tips.