During the fine weather, outdoor activities are often accompanied by unwanted visitors, such as insects. Is every square centimetre of your skin a feast for mosquitoes? If you cannot avoid their presence, keep them at bay with these practical tips.
A walk through the forest can turn into a veritable nightmare when you feel like you’re being devoured by insects. Moreover, some mosquitoes may carry diseases such as West Nile Virus, so it’s important to avoid bites. Here are a few measures you can take to avoid getting bitten:
- Keep away from infested areas, such as woods and ponds, especially at dusk and dawn.
- Wear long, light-coloured clothing, as well as a hat.
- Wear closed shoes instead of sandals when walking in areas where you risk getting bitten.
- Stay far away from stagnant water, a genuine paradise for mosquitoes.
- Check for your screens for holes. When camping, use a mosquito net.
- Use an insect repellent. Remember, however, that these products do not protect against wasp or bee stings!
Choosing an insect repellent
For optimal and safe use of insect repellents, it is important to follow these recommendations:
Children under 6 months
Do not use insect repellents.
Children aged 6 months to 2 years
Use a product with a DEET concentration of no more than 10% and only once a day. You can also use a product containing 20% icaridin or less.
Children aged 2 to 12
Use a product with a DEET concentration of no more than 10% and apply it a maximum of three times a day. You can also use a product containing 20% icaridin or less. Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus can be used from age 3, a maximum of twice a day.
Children over 12 and adults
Use a product with a DEET concentration of 30% or less, or a product containing 20% icaridin or less. You can also use a product containing oil of lemon eucalyptus, up to twice a day.
Pregnant or nursing women
Use a product with a DEET concentration of 30% or less, or a product containing 20% icaridin or less.
If you want to protect yourself from the sun, apply your sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes before the insect repellent so that it has time to penetrate. Avoid products that combine sun protection and insect repellent.
Spray your insect repellent in a well-aired place and only on the skin exposed to insects. It is also important to only apply the product to healthy skin, that is, not on irritated or injured skin. Spray the product on the exposed areas only and not on areas that will be protected by clothing.
Be careful not to spray the product near the eyes or mouth. In case of eye contact, rinse the eye thoroughly with water. Also avoid spraying children’s hands so as to reduce the risk of the product coming into contact with their mouth.
The duration of protection will vary according to the product used. Generally, a product with 10% DEET offers protection for three hours or less, while a product with 30% DEET offers protection for six hours or less. Icardine-based products offer protection for seven hours or less, while oil of lemon eucalyptus protects for two hours or less. Wash the skin with soap and water as soon as protection is no longer required.
If you have any hesitations as to which insect repellent is safest for the members of your family, don’t hesitate to consult your pharmacist. Together, you can discuss the various strategies for defending yourself against mosquitoes. By winning the war, you can enjoy your summer in peace!