Insect and bug bite precautions

Dr. Richard Hamat

During the spring and summer seasons, it's important to take precautions against insect and bug bites.

Along with applying insect repellent when necessary, here are some additional important tips:

  • Avoid sandals. Wear light-coloured, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors, and tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks. This is especially important when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk.
  • Avoid places where mosquitoes breed and live, like standing water.
  • Clean up any standing water in your yard
  • Keep screens in good repair
  • Cover playpens or strollers with a fine mesh netting when you are in an area with mosquitoes
  • Do not allow children 10 years of age or younger to apply Repellant and don’t apply to your child's hands as it may get into your child’s eyes or mouth

When necessary, proper use and knowledge of insect repellant is important:

AgeHow much DEET can I use?How long does it work after you put it on?
6 months of age and youngerDo not use insect repellents with DEET. Use a fine mesh net to cover your baby’s stroller or playpen when outside.
6 months up to 2 yearsUse no more than 10% DEET up to once a day2.5–4.5 hours
2 to 12 yearsUse no more than 10% DEET, up to 3 times a day2.5-4.5 hours
Over 12 years of ageUp to 30% DEET5-8 hours
Pregnant/breastfeeding mothersAlthough there is no known hazard to unborn or breastfed infants, pregnant or nursing mothers may wish to consider DEET alternatives, such as using protective clothing and avoiding exposure to insects.
  • Deet Free insect repellants: Icardin or Picardin is a Deet-free alternative.
  • Other “natural” products such as Citronella, soybean oil and PMD or oil of eucalyptus may have protective effects against mosquitoes and black flies but their safety in small children and effectiveness is not known.

For more information, please visit this link from Caring for Kids – the Canadian Pediatric Society

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