MOSQUITOS/TICKS: HOW TO PREVENT AND TREAT
1. Why use mosquito spray?
a. Mosquitos carry viruses such as the West Nile Virus. The WNV can cause meningitis, encephalitis and death. Last year there were over 5600 cases of WNV and 286 deaths in the United States.
b. Plus lets face it-they are pesky insects and bug bites itch and can become infected if we succumb to that itchy.
2. What type of spray should I use?
a. There are a few key repellents that I want to discuss today.
i. DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide)
iii. Oil of lemon eucalyptus
iv. Permethrin (can only be applied to clothes and gear BUT NEVER TO SKIN!!)
b. DEET: many formuations contain DEET and at varying concentrations.
i. The higher the concentration the longer the product lasts
1. For example, a product with 23.8% DEET provides about 5 hours of protection
2. A product containing 20% DEET provides 4 hours of protection
3. A product containing 6.65% provides about 2 hours of protection
i. Again the higher concentration the longer you are protected
d. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus---more effective than other plant based products
i. DO NOT APPLY TO CHILDREN UNDER 3 YEARS OF AGE
e. Permethrin- can only be applied to clothes and gear BUT NEVER TO SKIN!!
3. What type of spray should I use on my children?
a. DEET and Picardin can be used on children (using caution) to children greater than 2 months of age. However never spray the child's hands or face.
i. Kids stick their fingers in their eyes/nose and mouth and we do not want them ingesting the ingredient (also burns eyes)
ii. When applying to a child's face-use your own hands to wipe the repellent on their face carefully.
4. What to do after the bite?
a. Try not to itch it---
b. If the bite is not broken open you can apply an anti-itch cream
i. Benadryl (topical antihistamine)
ii. Hydrocortisone (topical steroid)-to be applied only to small areas of the body
iii. Calamine lotion
iv. Local anesthetics-use caution-especially around small children-OUT OF REACH OF SMALL CHILDREN---IF INGESTED---CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY
v. If the bite is broken open-use an triple antibiotic cream to the area and keep it covered.
5. Odds and Ends
a. Sunscreen and mosquito repellent should be used together---IT IS OKAY!
b. ALWAYS read the package before applying for specific information on the repellent you purchased.
c. If ingested---contact POISON CONTROL 1-800-222-1222
d. If the child is under 2 months of age
i. Long sleeve clothing
ii. Mosquito nets of strollers etc.
Jamie Vroman, PharmD, RPh with Meijer