The lowdown on insect repellants
- Use an insect repellant (bug spray or lotion) that is EPA registered.
- Products containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol and IR3535, are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- If you use a product containing DEET, make sure it has at least 20% DEET, and always follow the instructions on the product label.
- Most bug sprays and lotions are safe to use on babies 2 months and older. However, DO NOT USE PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN OIL OF LEMON EUCALPTUS OR PARA-MENTHANE-DIOL ON CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 3 YEARS OF AGE.
- Do not put bug spray or lotion on under clothing.
- If you are using sunscreen, too, put it on first, before you use bug spray or lotion.
If you have recently traveled to a Zika-affected area, use bug spray or lotion for 3 weeks after you get back. This way, if you are bitten by a mosquito, it will not become infected with the Zika virus and spread it to other people.
Learn ways to #ZAPzika in our article: how to stay safe, how it can affect a baby during pregnancy, and what to do if you think you may have been exposed.
Have questions? Send them to our health education specialists at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.