Posts Tagged ‘bug repellent’

West Nile virus on the rise

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

mosquitoWest Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness. It is a seasonal epidemic in North America that flares up in the summer and continues into the fall. Right now it’s raging and health officials at the CDC last week said that there have been 1,118 cases of the disease reported across 38 states, including 41 deaths.

Texas accounts for about half of the cases in the entire country. Researchers believe that this summer’s extremely hot weather following a particularly mild winter is what has led to the largest outbreak ever seen. While Texas is the most heavily affected state, WNV is in every state this year except Alaska, Hawaii and Vermont.
 
The virus is transmitted by mosquitos and is carried by birds. The best way to prevent West Nile virus is to stop mosquito bites. Many municipalities are spraying pesticides in the air. It is recommended that individuals who will be outside where mosquitos may exist should use a bug repellent containing DEET. Stay indoors during dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most likely to bite, and wear long clothes. Use mosquito netting over baby carriers and strollers and be sure to repair any broken window or door screens.

Pregnant women may be concerned about the safety of insect repellants during pregnancy. The insect repellant DEET (diethyltoluamide) is among the most effective at keeping insects, such as mosquitoes and ticks, from biting. Preventing insect bites is important during pregnancy because mosquito- and tick-borne infections, such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease, erlichiosis and babesiosis may be harmful in pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend any special precautions for pregnant women using DEET-containing products, when used as directed on the product label.

For more information about West Nile virus, read this information from the CDC.

Sunscreen and bug spray

Friday, June 24th, 2011

sunscreenThis week it is officially summer! We’re all outside playin’ in the grass, splashin’ in the pool. We know it’s very important to slather on the sunscreen to keep ourselves and little ones from turning red as a beet. And if you live where the mosquitos hang out, you want to spray on bug repellant to keep those B52 biters at bay.

There are a couple of products that combine bug repellant with sunscreen. Sounds great, right? Wrong. The problem with a combination product is the real possibility of toxic exposure, overdosing on the bug repellant. We have learned from research that for maximum benefit it’s important to reapply sunblock every two hours. If you use a combination product, you’ll be reapplying the bug repellant chemicals as well – not good.

So, to be on the safe side, keep these products separate, or use the combination product once, and then apply sunblock only every two hours afterward. If you’re worried about the chemicals in bug repellant, here’s an alternative. Soybean oil based repellents are healthier for you and tests have found them to be as effective as a 15% concentration of DEET, lasting for 4 to 8 hours.