Keep your skin free of bugs and unsafe bug spray when outdoors.
One favorite activity for families and friends alike is adventurous, outdoor camping trips?Packing up your van or truck with tents, portable grills and mattresses, heading up north into the depths of the woods for a long weekend, and sitting around the warm, crackling campfire, exchanging funny stories as you cook up some delicious s'mores.
Whether you're heading off for a weekend into the winter mountains, the forest, the hiking trails or the family cabin, the one item that is always essential for any trip involving nature is bug spray. While many people love getting outside and spending a little one-on-one time with mother nature, nearly everyone wishes they could spend just a little less time with her pesky bugs and mosquito
Nothing can kill the fun of a warm night spent by the fire than itchy bug bites on your neck, arms, legs, shins, face, toes... everywhere! However, before you douse yourself head-to-toe in the strongest bug spray you can possibly find, take a moment to consider what exactly you are spraying on your body.
Many people don't stop to think that maybe this harmful, potent bug-killer
may not only be dangerous to insects and mosquitoes, but could also be harmful to your skin if you don't use it properly.
While bug spray comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, brands and uses, there are essentially only three types of bug-repelling ingredients found in each bottle that is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)?DEET, Piaridin and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. However, out of these three chemicals, the one that has received the most backlash is DEET.
For many decades, the only insect repellent that was endorsed by the CDC in the United States was DEET. This chemical has been found to protect against the largest range of bugs, which is helpful if you are thinking about traveling to a tropical region with a high-level of bugs and pests.
However, while this chemical has been used since it's development in 1946, current research is just now beginning to show that concerns about the safety of this product. Studies have shown that DEET may have short-term side effects in some people, including rashes, headaches, skin reactions and wooziness. However, in addition short-term side effects, a study published in the medical journal BioMed Central Biology
has found that excessive use of DEET
can be toxic to the central nervous system.
Doctors recommend that adults who use DEET-based bug repellent do not purchase a contraction that exceeds 5-10% for an hour or two outdoors. If you are heading outside for an all-day outing, the maximum percentage that should be used is 30%. Products that include more than 30% of DEET should also not be used on children, and the chemical should be avoided all together on infants under 2 months old.
If you're looking for a way to avoid DEET this winter, one great alternative bug-spray ingredient is Picardin. While this chemical was just recently cleared for use in the United States
by the EPA in 2011, it has been used as an ingredient in insect repellent since the 1980s in Australia and Europe. It is as effective as other popular ingredients such as DEET, though it typically smells better and is less irritating to peoples skin.
Another great alternative is Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. However, while this ingredient is just as powerful as DEET and much safer, it can irritate the eyes and is not recommended for children under the age of three.
No matter what type of adventure
you are heading out on this winter, or which type of insect repellent you choose to purchase, always be sure to completely read the repellent's label. Always review the EPA registration number, the active ingredient list, and the amount of time it can protect you from bug bites. Understanding each of these factors can help keep your families skin safe, and can lead to a bite-free, wonderful weekend in the woods.