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Revealed: Our best kept secrets for repelling ticks and mosquitoes

Brought to you by Mark's Work Wearhouse

Tuesday, May 11th 2021, 1:47 pm - We are revealing some of our best kept secrets when it comes to getting rid of these pests!

Mosquitoes and ticks are a common complaint among Canadians every summer. Whether you are spraying them away from your backyard BBQ or tweezing them out of your pet, there's nothing appealing about these critters crashing your summertime plans!

Dr. Steve Schofield, an Epidemiologist in Ottawa, Ont., sat down with The Weather Network’s Rachel Schoutsen to brainstorm some ideas!

DEET Isn't The Only Working Repellent Out There

Most Canadians rely on products with DEET for protecting exposed skin from bug bites. However, there is another product you should also be looking for.

GETTY IMAGES: Ticks and mosquitoes Credit: Getty Images

“Icaridin works just as well as DEET,” says Dr. Schofield. “In my opinion it also smells a little nicer so this could lead to people actually using it more.

The Public Health Agency of Canada's Canadian Advisory Committee recommends bug sprays with Icaridin as first choice for children 6 months to 12 years of age.

“They both work when the mosquito approaches you and smells you. When it gets very close it smells the repellent and it doesnt like that. So it leaves you alone and it flies away,” explains Dr. Schofield.

On some product labels, this repellent may also be referred to as Picaridin.

Canadians Now Have Access to Tick & Mosquito Repellent Clothing

“This has been a 10 year process,” says Dr. Schofield. “WindRiver Tick and Mosquito Repellent clothing at Mark’s is an exciting innovation! It has repellent embedded right into the fibres of the clothing. It can last a couple of seasons to about 70 washes and has no odour”, he explains.

The idea was first developed by the military to help prevent tick bites. Now any Canadian has access to this amazing product exclusively at Mark’s.

Photo Credit: WindRiver Clothing Photo Credit: WindRiver Clothing

The chemical in the clothing, Permethrin, is related to naturally occurring insecticides that are found in chrysanthemum flowers. When mosquitoes land on this material they get “hot feet” and fly away. Ticks are also not fond of this, which will force them to “drop off” if they land on WindRiver repellent products.

Netting Has Prevented 1 Billion Cases of Malaria

“I think netting is very much an underutilized tool and we should all utilize it more to prevent mosquito bites,” says Dr. Schofield.

In Africa, where Malaria is a major issue, bed nets are essential -- and they work. Canadians should adapt to the idea of nets in order to create a barrier away from the bugs.

Photo Credit:  Example of bed net by Dr Schofield Example of bed net. Photo Credit: Dr. Schofield

“I use them in my backyard gazebo,” explains Dr. Schofield. “If you happen to be for example walking along a trail with a stroller, it would be a good idea to cover up that stroller with netting. Then you have a physical barrier that prevents the bites of mosquitoes on a young one. If you are camping, and you want to be comfortable, you don't want to suffer nuisance if you are eating. Perhaps you could use netting to prevent mosquitoes from biting you.”

Less Skin Equals Less Risk

"It’s a fairly simple idea, if there is less skin to bite the chances of getting bitten also decrease. “It’s important to wear long pants and sleeves," says Dr. Schofield.

You can even go the extra step and tuck pants into socks and wear a hat to protect your scalp.

If you have been in an area where ticks are present, it’s important to do a body scan once you return home. Take extra time to look through your hair, underarms, and behind your knees.

Prevention Should be Mandatory

Removing or decreasing the risk of a bite is not just a good idea, it should be something all Canadians take seriously. The CDC has tracked 17 different illnesses that can be traced back to a single tick. And mosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism. From West Nile Virus to Zika, mosquito borne viruses make headlines around the globe every year.

GETTY IMAGES: tick on yellow flower Photo Credit: Getty Images

Unfortunately, as the climate warms the survival of ticks at higher latitudes will increase. In Canada, the tick season has also lengthened with warmer temperatures. And the same goes for mosquitoes, the risk of transmitting disease increases in a warmer world.

The more Canadians know about the severity of a bite, the better we can protect and prevent.

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