How to Survive a Record Year of Nasty Mosquitos

You’ll want to keep the mosquito repellent and medication for bug bites close by this summer. The Centers for Disease Control is predicting the summer of 2012 will be one of the worst mosquito summers on record.

You can blame an unusually warm winter, a wetter than normal spring, and a summer that so far is warm and damp. Because the insects did not freeze to death last winter, the bugs got an early start on breeding and have kept multiplying. Considering the amount of water in a bottle cap can hold about 300 mosquito eggs, you can imagine what North Carolinians are facing.

So Kerr Drug, a nationally recognized provider of pharmacy and other healthcare related, offers these tips to safely ward off the summer pests.

• Apply Insect Repellents with DEET wisely- Most people choose repellents with low concentrations of DEET, especially for use by their children, believing high percentages of DEET are dangerous. However toxicity issues with DEET are related to the number of times you apply the product, not the concentration. So it is safer to choose the product that matches the amount of time you’ll be outside. The CDC cites a study showing repellents with 23.8% DEET provide about five hours of protection while products with 4.75% DEET protect for about one hour.
“It’s better to use a product with a higher DEET concentration once than with a lower concentration multiple times,” says Anthony “Tony” Civello, president and CEO of Kerr Drug.

• Be Careful Using Repellents with DEET on Children-The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends products containing DEET should not be applied to children under two months of age. The AAP also suggests not using products with a higher DEET concentration than 30% on children.
• Other Repellents-Picardin- is a pepper-based compound that is as effective as DEET with lower toxicity.
• Other Repellents-Lemon Eucalyptus- is also used as an insect repellent and seems as effective as a low concentration of DEET.
• General Safety Advice for all Repellents-When applying repellent on a small child, apply it to your own hands and run them on the child. Also, do not apply repellent to children’s hands because children tend to put their hands in their mouth and eyes.
• Hydrocortisone Cream- This topical cream relieves stings, bites and itchy rashes.
“While mosquitos will bite anytime during daylight hours, they are most aggressive at dawn and dusk, so people should take special precautions during those times,” adds Civello. “It’s also advisable to look around where you live and remove standing water, clean birdbaths, and get rid of the places where mosquitos breed.”