Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer season for most of us. So, now that summer is officially here and everyone is spending some quality time outside — which means protecting ourselves and our kids from mosquitoes and other insects. Bug bites are not only irritating, but can put you and your family at risk for all kinds of diseases, such as West Nile virus and malaria.
CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton shared the best bug repellent products as judged by Consumer Reports to keep your family safe through this summer season.
Ashton suggested these bug sprays:
- Off: Deep Woods
- Off: Smooth and Dry
These sprays can give you up to eight hours of protection against mosquitoes, however, many products contain a chemical commonly used in repellents called ‘deet.’
For those who want to opt for a more natural alternative, Ashton suggests products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus and soy-based products.
Ashton noted, “These natural alternatives don’t give you the same protection in terms of longevity … and people should not use them on children under the age of three years of age.”
Ashton warned parents to be careful when using these insect repellents with kids. She said, “Many (of these cans) look a little bit like toys, so you don’t want to give to your child and let them spray it on themselves.”
Ashton explained the best way to keep your children protected is to apply the sprays for them, avoiding the face, eyes, mouth, and hands, but not forgetting problem areas like the ankles or the back of the neck.
On “The Early Show,” Ashton demonstrated how well these products work by spraying her forearm and putting her hand into a box full mosquitoes. The mosquitoes were provided by Rutgers University; they were lab bred and disease-free.
And while she did not get bitten, here are some remedies just in case you do:
- For irritation caused by histamine reactions to a bug bite:
- A cold pack or ice
- Hydrocotrisone cream
Ashton advises you to keep a lookout for the labels on bug repellent bottles and cans — a concentration of 15 percent to 30 percent gives you really good protection, while deet products can protect you for up to 300 hours.