AlzU Blog

Mosquito repellents-Which type is Safe and Effective for Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease

If you are making an attempt to plan some great outings with your loved one who has Alzheimer’s this summer season, you may be concerned about bugs which can be relentless!  Not only are flying, biting bugs annoying, but you should know that ticks and mosquitoes can also transmit a number of diseases-many of which cannot be prevented via an immunization or medication-according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). 

Many people are concerned about potential negative effects of chemicals contained in mosquito repellents, but experts warn that the consequences of NOT using repellents that have been proven effective could lead to much more severe consequences than using a chemical product such as Deet.

So what type of repellent should you use?  Although many health gurus proclaim that we should only use all natural bug repellents such as different types of natural oils, the CDC recommends the following for safe coverage and prevention of vector borne diseases, like those originating from ticks and mosquitoes;

In order to safely prevent disease from ticks AND mosquitoes be sure to use a commercial repellent with at least twenty percent Deet that protects for at least a few hours.  For mosquito coverage only, use one of the following products:

    Picaridin-products include: Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan (for use outside the US)

      Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD-products include Repel and Off botanicles

        IR3535i-products include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus and SkinSmart

        Against popular belief by many naturalists and some other health experts, the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics both state that taking internal sources of B1 and garlic is NOT effective coverage against ticks and mosquitoes. 

        According to WebMD: “If you live in an area where mosquitoes are more a mild nuisance, plant-based mosquito repellents often work just fine, but if you live in an area that is heavy with mosquitoes or you are prone to bites, you may not want to take any chances.”  WebMD recommends conventional commercial bug repellents with a concentration of at least 23.8 percent Deet or picaridin for optimal protection against vector borne diseases in the U.S.

        The Environmental Protection Agency reports that Deet and picaridin are safe for adults and kids older than 2 months-provided they are used correctly.

        According to WebMD, one natural source of bug repellent includes Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), which works as well as lower concentrations of Deet (around 6.6 percent).  Again, you should only consider this natural plant based repellent if you live in an area where mosquitoes are not very prevalent.  OLE provides approximately 2 hours of coverage against mosquitoes.  Note: WebMd says OLE should NOT be used in young kids under 3 and warns that the essential oil does NOT provide the same level of coverage as a commercial OLE product designed specifically as a repellent. 

        Products containing 10 percent citronella have been shown to offer some protection, but according to a research study at the University of Florida, citronella is short acting and may provide coverage for only 20 minutes at the longest.

        Other types of natural repellents you may have heard of that lack sufficient evidence of effectiveness and safety include: fennel, thyme, celery extract and neem oil.

        Tips for keeping pesky bugs away:

          Wear long sleeves and pants, hats and socks to limit skin exposure when outside

            Keep air moving via fans-bugs are less likely to land on you when the air is moving

              Be sure to get rid of sources of standing water in your yard and keep pools treated with proper chemicals

                Avoid going outside during peak times that mosquitos come out such as dusk and dawn

                If applying sunscreen at the same time as repellant, be sure to apply the sunscreen first

                  Avoid spraying repellant directly on wounds, cuts or irritated skin areas

                    Always follow the directions on the label of commercial mosquito and tick repellents

                    To learn more about tips for caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease, be sure to CLICK HERE to sign up for our 25 topic course at today.

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