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Quit Your Itchin

by Nikki Montgomery

It's that time of year...you walk outside and are nearly carried away by mosquitoes. Gotta love summer in Wisconsin. We're all itching to get outdoors, but we need to spray ourselves down with "bug dope" and some bug repellent is unsafe for kids. With the recent case of West Nile Virus found in the Stevens Point area though you cannot risk going out without putting some bug repellent on your children.

The safest way to protect babies under 2 months is with a mosquito net over a stroller or pack and play. After 2 months you can use products that contain some DEET, which is found in products like Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard and SkinSmart. Anything you use on a child under 3 years should contain less than 30% DEET. Never apply DEET under clothes. Don't spray it near a child's face. Don't apply it to a baby's hands because they put their hands in their mouths a lot. After 3 years old you can use oil of lemon eucalyptus which is found in Repel and Off! Botanicals.

Some companies think they're smart by mixing sunscreen with the bug repellent, but it isn't as good a deal as you may think. The DEET actually cuts the effectiveness of the sunscreen and sunscreen needs to be applied more often than DEET. It is just better to apply both separately and reapply sunscreen as needed. Natural bug repellents need to be applied more often than DEET so that would be an exception to the rule.

When you use DEET on yourself or a child it should be washed off your skin with soap and water as soon as you come inside.

My doctor suggested Skin So Soft as a bug repellent for my babies. You can also spray bug spray on your baby's clothes before you put them on. Just make sure to take the clothes off the baby when you come inside.

Stay safe and quit your itchin!

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