With the official start of summer just kicking off this last weekend, comes the often discussed debate of insect repellent sprays versus insect repellent wipes.
With the now, constant threats of West Nile Virus and Lyme disease on the rise, many individuals are staking their positions.
In addition to these primary concerns is the simple fact that bugs carry bacteria and with insect bites come bug-borne illness.
Albeit, the average illness, if you will, may only culminate into an uncomfortable rash or skin irritation. So, the idea of misting your children in a daily chemical fog may prove equally uncomfortable.
I for one, perk up like Pavlov dog when I hear the sliding screen door open any time after 5PM. This is followed by a “drill sergeant” type questioning of my children; “Where are you going?” “Did you put on bug spray?” No. “Come back in and assume the position!”
This is followed by two minutes of spraying any portions of exposed skin, behind the neck and under the shirts on the stomach and backs of my children.
They usually make a face and so do I. My face is one of smug satisfaction, that for a few short hours, I have outsmarted every mosquito in my immediate area.
My children on the other hand, walk outside in a temporary sticking mess, depending on the products we’ve used.
In the past, I’ve tried sprays, lotions and oils to keep my children from becoming a meal for mosquito’s and ticks.
Of late, I have recently become a fan for insect repellent wipes. The wipes are compact and can fit easily in my pocket or purse, so when we are not at home, there is not that verboten sense of urgency to get to our destination without the small added additional worry.
Still many of my friends agree that they would like to limit their children’s’ exposure to potentially toxic chemicals.
So I decided to take a look at the pros and cons of insect repellent sprays versus insect repellent wipes.
Here are the Pros of why you should Use an Insect Repellent Spray
• Sprays have more options including DEET, soy-based bite blockers, lemon oil and eucalyptus oil.
• Protection can last up to 90 minutes per use
• Can be used on children over 6 years old
• Can be unscented for persons with smell sensitivities
Here are the Cons of why you should hold Off on Insect Repellent Sprays
• Some natural oils like citronella and peppermint can be less effective
• Depending on the brand, you may have to re-apply every 30-90 minutes
• Some oils may be toxic if ingested accidentally via aerosol
• Sprays containing more than 30% of DEET can be toxic to children and pets
Here are the Pros of why you Use Insect Repellent Wipes
• Insect Repellent Wipes are individual wrapped. One packet usually covers a small child
• TSA friendly. You can carry wipes to a vacation destination instead of using questionable local products.
• Contains far less than 30% DEET per individual pack
• Does not spill or leak
• Can work up to 2 hours per application
Here are the Cons of why you should hold off on Insect Repellent Wipes
• Adults may require up to two wipes for full coverage
• Reapplication needed after swimming or any water sports
• Sold in smaller quantities, from 3pk to 48pks
• Not recommended for children under 2 months old
• Can cause skin irritation in certain people
So how will you personally weigh the risk of insects this summer? Will you base your decision on chemicals or the lack thereof?
Will you opt for the all-natural versions of insect repellents and re-apply often? Maybe you’ve decided to limit the time you spend outdoors this summer.
What about your summer vacation? Are mosquito’s the same everywhere? Will your current insect repellent work everywhere you are?
These are valid questions to ask yourself every time you scratch that spot on the back of your knee.
Sampling products early in the season to determine what works best for your family is a great option. If you find a spray that you like and works well for your family, you may want to find out if there is a travel size that meets federal TSA regulations, so that you can have it on vacation with you.
Even if there are no smaller sizes available, you can easily pack your favorite insect repellent in your suitcase and hope that your luggage makes it to your destination when you do.
Call me a “Nervous Nancy” but where my kids are concerned, I tend to double down on protection when outside of my usual routine.
So, my carry-on will contain insect repellent wipes as well as a bottle of our favorite repellent spray.
I simply like the convenience of “moms’ little bag of tricks” and being prepared for any eventuality, including the fact that even when traveling inside the U.S., many stores and chain don’t carry the same products.
Natural bug sprays and wipes aren’t the only nontoxic ways that you can fight back against mosquito bites and other bugs. But in this day and age, you have a lot of choices. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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