Tuesday, April 3, 2012

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Picking the safest insect repellent for baby



We spend so much time in our climate controlled world, that when we do venture outside to enjoy a beautiful day we want it to be perfect, or at least as nice as the building we left.  One of the biggest culprits of ruining an otherwise perfect day by the lake, on the patio, or hiking through the woods are bugs.

In particular the mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, and black flies…you know, the ones that bite.

Aside from being a general annoyance, their bites leave a lasting, yet itchy, reminder of your time outdoors, and there is also the possibility of disease.  Mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, and in some places, malaria. Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are just two of a long list of tick borne diseases. 

While we don’t hear much about it, even chiggers can transmit scrub typhus.

To make out time outdoors more enjoyable and disease free we have come up a myriad of things to make outside as bug free as inside, as least as far as our skin is concerned. But just how safe are these products for your baby?

Citronella

Citronella is a tropical and warm weather plant whose oils act as a natural repellant. The EPA considers citronella oil to be a non-toxic biopesticide and has been registered and approved for use in the US since 1948, although it’s use goes back long before the official approval.

While a natural plant-based insect repellant sounds ideal, keep in mind it is not ideal for every scenario.  Citronella repels mosquitoes, but other insects seem to be unaffected. Eucalyptus oil has a similar repellant effect. While approved for topical use by the FDA with no health risk to adults or children, citronella based sprays and lotions also require frequent application, ranging in effectiveness from 30-60 minutes .  

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