Summertime ideally means beach time. Nothing ruins a beautiful day at the beach as quickly as annoying insects. Before you head out to enjoy the waves, sun, and sand, be sure to pack some family-friendly bug spray. The following products and tips will help you keep those pesky bugs from ruining your family’s day at the beach.
1. Choose insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, or PMD. These chemicals have been proven to be highly effective in preventing mosquito bites, and are safe for children as young as two months old. Some common brands that use these chemicals include Off! Family, Off! Botanicals, Off! Active, Cutter Advanced, Walgreens Light and Clean, and Bug Off.
2. Be wary of lotions that mix sunscreen and bug spray. Though it’s tempting to use one product for both purposes, sunscreen needs to be reapplied much more often than bug spray. You may end up exposing your children to more of the chemicals in bug spray than is safe for them when using the two-in-one products.
3. If you’re trying to limit your children’s exposure to chemicals, consider more natural ways of preventing bug bites. Dressing them in loose, long-sleeved clothes that are not brightly colored will help keep insects off their skin. Also, opting for shoes and socks instead of sandals is a good alternative.
4. To protect your family from mosquitoes that carry the Zika and West Nile viruses, consider the following information gathered by EWG researchers:
o Repellents with DEET, picaridin, and IR3535 are most effective
o Repellents with oil of lemon eucalyptus are not nearly as effective against the mosquitoes most likely to be carrying West Nile and Zika
o Essential oils and Vitamin B1 patches proved ineffective at deterring mosquitoes most likely to be carrying the Zika and West Nile viruses
5. The best-selling insect repellent on Amazon is Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent lotion with 20 percent Picaridin. Its main chemical is more effective than DEET at repelling biting flies, and it can also protect against the Yellow Fever Mosquito that can transmit the Zika virus. The lotion lasts up to 14 hours and is safe for children.
6. According to a recent study by researchers at New Mexico State University, the five most effective spray-on insect repellents are the following, in order of effectiveness:
o Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus (with 30 percent PMD)
o Ben’s Tick and Insect Repellent (with 98 percent DEET)
o All Terrain Kids Herbal Armor (with a blend of natural oils)
o Avon Skin-So-Soft (with the active ingredient picaridin)
o Repel Sportsmen Max Formula (with 40 percent DEET)
Regardless of the bug spray you choose, be sure to apply it correctly. Insect repellent doesn’t last all day, especially when you’re getting wet or excessively sweating. Make sure to reapply it especially after swimming to maintain its effectiveness. Carrying a combination of family-friendly bug sprays in your beach bag can ensure that you’re ready to protect your family against any pesky insects that may threaten to ruin your summer vacation.