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Mosquito season: Is DEET a safe repellant?

Sunday, May 12th 2019, 2:43 pm - This is an ongoing debate we hope to squash!

Diethyltoluamide, commonly called DEET, is a spray humans use to ward off mosquitoes. Researchers have agreed year over year it is the most effective method on the market.

However, some people worry about side effects.

“Overall, DEET has been shown to be safe. In some mixed animal studies, if animals ingested DEET, there has been shown to be some chance of seizure," Pharmacist Victor Wong told The Weather Network.

"For the regular individual, at most, there may be some side effects of skin irritation or some headaches if ingested.”

mosquito Experts say DEET is safe, if applied correctly. SOURCE: Getty Images.

WHEN CAN DEET BE HARMFUL?

DEET can be harmful when not used correctly. Ingesting or swallowing the repellant could contribute to serious health concerns.

DEET HELPS PREVENT DEADLY DISEASES

DEET protects humans from mosquitoes by making it hard for them to identify human sweat, blood, and breath.

“The use of DEET is highly recommended for personal protection against mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus," says Mark Ardis, a scientific advisor from GDG Canada, a consulting firm that offers large-scale pesticide application.

"Personal protection is the first line of defense against mosquito bites and Ticks.”

Ardis agrees that DEET is a safe product, if it's used correctly.

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WHAT IS THE RIGHT CONCENTRATION OF DEET?

  • Adults and children older than 12 years old up to 30%
  • Children aged 2 to 12 years up to 10%
  • Children aged 6 months to 2 years old up to 10%

It's also important to remember that children 2-13 should have a maximum of 3 sprays a day, and those aged 6 months to 2 years should only be sprayed once a day.

Experts say the product should not be used daily for more than a month on children.

Screen Shot 2019-05-10 at 2.49.09 PM

WHY WOULD I USE PRODUCTS WITH MORE THAN A 30% DEET CONCENTRATION?

A higher concentration of DEET doesn't mean the product is more effective -- it simply means the repellant will last longer.

If you follow the proper guidelines DEET is not only safe but it will help prevent the spread of diseases carried by mosquitoes.

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