After reading our post on preventing dengue and the top 5 mosquito repellents available in India; Minita, a reader and a mom to a 9 month old baby girl who suffers from insect bite allergy, wrote to me about her research on insect bite repellents. I realized that Minita had done an extensive research as a mom so that she could find products that would help her daughter and this information was very useful for all the parents out there.
That is why I invited her to do a guest post on Insect bites and repellents, take it over from here Minita
A big hi to all the readers of The Mom Views! I’m Minita, a Chartered Accountant by profession and a mother by occupation. I am busy trying to model order and logic from my previous world of banking and finance to the chaotic and charming world of raising my daughter. Living in Mumbai only adds to the hubbub.
My 9 month daughter is diagnosed with Bite allergy and has rashes all over her body. I’m told by my pediatrician as well as skin specialist that prevention is the only way out. Post that I have spent a lot of time reading and understanding the available repellents and this is what I found.
Insect / Mosquito Bites
Insect bites on children are a common concern of almost every parent, especially so, if you are living in a metropolis like Mumbai or Delhi. Unfortunately there are no vaccines or medication that one can take to guard against the bites. Hence the only way to protect oneself from Insect/mosquito bites is to follow the three “D’s”: Drain water, dress properly and defend.
Mosquito larvae develop in standing water and even a small volume of water can support large numbers of larvae.
- Regularly drain or tip out standing water from containers like toys, flower pots, cans, buckets.
- Clean out clogged gutters and drain water on flat roofs.
The most effective way to control mosquitoes is to eliminate their breeding sites.
- Dress your child in long pants, a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, socks, and closed shoes. A broad-brimmed hat can help to keep insects away from the face.
- Mosquito netting may be used over baby carriers or strollers.
- Don’t use scented soaps, perfumes, or hair sprays on your child because they may attract insects.
To defend oneself against these insect bites, there are various homegrown remedies as well as commercially available insect repellent. While one can always try and see what works for them, we try to give you some insight into the available repellents, their efficacy and potential effects on human beings. Most of the data has been documented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the American Association of Pediatrics and the New England Journal of Medicine.
|Active Ingredient||Commercial Product Available (in India)||Effectiveness||Caution|
|DEET||Odomos||High degree of efficacy. Protects upto 5 to 8 hrs depending upon concentration||– The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend DEET products for children younger than two months old.– Cautions against using any repellent with more than 30 percent DEET on children of any age.|
|Picaridin||Avon Skin-So-Soft™ Bug Guard Plus Picaridin||Reasonably long-lasting protection||Not recommend for children younger than two months old.|
|Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus||‘Repel’ by Boots||Reasonably long-lasting protection||Not recommended for children below 3 years|
|IR3535 (ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate)||Chicco Anti-Mosquito, Pigeon Wipes||Protection upto 30 minutes||Not recommend for children younger than two months old.|
|Permethrin||No products available in India||Reasonably long-lasting protection||Not to be applied directly on skin. Only recommended to be put on clothing, shoes.|
|Mosquito Patches||Don’t Bite Me!Tiger Mosquito PatchBug Bite Shield||Various studies and research suggests that there is not adequate data to support that Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) or Citronella Oil (the active ingredient in these patches) are effective as repellent.|
|Wrist Bands||Available under various names||No effect as an Insect repellent as conducted by various studies|
|Repellents made from essential oils such as citronella, cedar, neem oil, herbal extracts.||Although safe and organic, most studies prove that these are not highly effective in case of severe insect prone areas. In fact, most “natural” insect repellents such as citronella, neem oil, and herbal extracts are no longer permitted for sale as insect repellents in the EU.|
Whichever insect repellent you choose, follow the label directions to ensure proper use. Insect/Mosquito Repellents should be applied only to exposed skin and/or clothing. Do not use under clothing. Do not apply near eyes and mouth, and apply sparingly around ears. Never use repellents over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin. After returning indoors, wash off the cream.