Deciphering DEET

The mozzies are the one big downside of the warmer months! Whether you live in hot and humid KZN, or the drought-ridden Cape, the mozzies are in full force and need to be kept at bay. Here’s how we recommend you do that, the best and safest way…

Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to our pesky friends:

We recommend you DO NOT:

  • Spray harsh aerosol repellents on or near your children,
  • Use plug point insect repellent diffusers,
  • Use anything containing DEET.

What is DEET?

Diethyltoluamide (also called DEET) is the most common active ingredient in insect repellents. It is a slightly yellow oil intended to be applied to the skin or to clothing, and provides protection against mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, leeches, and many other biting insects.

While this may sound wonderfully convenient, with the common everyday use of DEET, it can easily seep into our water sources and streams. DEET is highly toxic to freshwater fish and many harmless insects.

Can it harm us?

As with anything, conflicting reports give us differing opinions. Studies show that side effects of extended periods of exposure to DEET include irritation, redness, rash and swelling. People who have swallowed products containing high concentrations of DEET have also experienced stomach upset, vomiting, and nausea. When it comes to children, toxicity is a valid concern. There are really good natural alternatives available, so we believe that if we can choose better, we should!

Our recommendations:

  • Use a safe DEET-free Insect Repellent that uses essential oils that naturally repel insects (such as our Insect Repellent Stick or Spray),
  • Sleep with a fan on. This prevents the mozzies from treating you as a landing pad,
  • Diffuse some organic citronella essential oil in a diffuser, or burn a citronella candle,
  • Invest in a mosquito net.
  • When infestations are heavy, cover up. Exposed skin is far more likely to be attacked than clothed skin

Mo Mozzie’s Helpful Tip: Mosquitoes use vision to initially locate hosts and are attracted to dark colours. Light coloured clothing that covers your child’s skin in an effective way to protect against mosquito bites.

 

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