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Understanding Insect and Spider Bites -- Prevention

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How Can I Prevent Insect and Spider Bites?

DEET is the most effective insect repellant. It can be found in a variety of lotions and sprays and purchased in most drug stores. There has been some concern about the negative effects of using this chemical, particularly for children, but none of the natural plant products are likely to be as reliable. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that DEET not be used on children younger than two months of age.

Picaridin is a plant-derived compound and is also somewhat effective against mosquitoes and ticks.

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Essential oil of eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus) is a natural insect repellent. Make a solution by adding five drops or eucalyptus oil to 1 cup of water and dab it on your skin. Essential oil of citronella also discourages insects when placed on exposed skin. A few dabs of calendula (calendula officinalis) ointment on the face, arms, and legs may keep insects away and is also available as a commercially available product.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on March 21, 2014

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