The active ingredients frequently found in those repellents sold without a prescription have little efficiency when there is rubbing with clothes or other objects which somehow “wash” the skin.
Deet is the best insect repellent developed so far, but it can be toxic if it is not found in concentrations of 10% or less.
It is highly effective against mosquitoes and it also works in the case of fleas, ticks, gnats, gadflies and other insects but not against bees, wasps and ants.
Those products containing Deet can be used on the skin or over the clothes and the effect lasts for several hours. All exposed areas should be covered, avoiding the areas close to the eyes and mouth, wounded areas and the hands of small children.
To avoid unwanted reactions we recommend it in concentrations of less than 10%, using small quantities several times.
Parents who are worried about the possible risks of Deet can choose among those products deriving from plants like Citronella. The oil from this plant is effective but has no long-lasting effect in comparison with Deet. It exists in creams, gel or candles.
Soya oil at 2% would also be effective as far as time is concerned but is still being studied because it is a new product.
Permethrin: it is used for pediculosis and scabies, but its efficiency as a repellent has not been proved. It is good against ticks because it is used in risk areas for Lyme disease.
Thiamin: it has been used as a systemic repellent but without good results; likewise, some oral vitamins have not been successful.
Solar protection and replellents
There exist products which combine Deet in low concentrations and solar protectors. We should take into account that Deet reduces the Solar Protection Factor of sunscreens when used together. This means that these products used at the same time could offer less protection than the one mentioned by the number of the SPF.
We recommend parents the use of a sunscreen of a higher SPF if they are also using a repellent with Deet, or using the usual sunscreen and a repellent without Deet.
Deet is still the most effective repellent. It is safe if used in low concentrations (lower than 10). However, the risk of oral ingestion, of ocular membranes and mucosa exposure, and the fact that it is flammable, are reasons to worry about.
Some Repellents Avaible in Argentina
|AULO GELIO REPELENTE||cream||Citronella oil||3%|
|FUJIVAPE||tablets||Pyrethrum extract||50% and 8mg.|
|tablets||Pyramin forte||30 mg.|