Until our honorable elected officials stop their political posturing and decide Zika is real bad and needs real attention, here are some tips to protect yourself and your kids from mosquitoes.
There are three basic strategies:
- Whenever outside, constantly scan your arms, legs, and all other exposed skin areas waiting for a mosquito to land. Quickly smack that son-of-a-gun into a unrecognizable insect paste. Make sure someone is constantly scanning your neck and other hard to reach areas, also ready to deliver a nice whack.
- Never ever ever go outside this summer. There are plenty of great HBO series to get caught up on anyways.
- Use a safe, effective insect repellent.
This doc wants you to go with #3.
#1 sounds exhausting and might start a fight. #2 would worsen our obesity epidemic, and kids aren’t mature enough for the suggestive adult content of some HBO series (I’m looking at you, Game of Thrones). No, kids really do need to spend time outside this summer, and you do, too. Here’s how to do so safely.
Honestly, just remember to use a repellent with DEET in it. Or N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide as I like to call it. Yeah, I know it’s a chemical made up of big chemically words, and I have no idea if it is gluten free or not. But it is the most widely used ingredient and has the most data on safety and efficacy.
Word on the street is there is no evidence that concentrations above 50% increase efficacy, so you can stick your nose up at that marketing ploy. My academy (The American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends using products containing up to 30% DEET for children.
Couple of considerations:
- Don’t use on babies less than 2 months old, use mosquito netting instead.
- Don’t use repellents under clothes
- Don’t use products that use both sunscreen and repellent, because sunscreen needs to be applied more frequently.
Other options include:
- IR3535 – concentrations between 7.5%-20% are safe and effective.
- Picaridin – odorless, doesn’t damage clothing, no reports of toxicity. Use up to 10%
- Essential oils – Safe to use, doesn’t work as well. Zika!
- Citronella – Works well, doesn’t last as long
That should do it. Enjoy being outdoors this summer! If you have time, contact your honorable congressman or congresswomen and let them your future children shouldn’t be a political pawn vs Zika. Here is the letter my academy wrote, for example.