As you get ready to head to the beach this summer, you’ll want to pack towels, lots of sunscreen, and a cooler full of drinks to stay hydrated. Another thing that you don’t want to forget is the bug spray. There are lots of different methods to effectively repel bugs on the beach, but not every application is appropriate for you and your family. Here are some things to consider when trying to choose among the best bug repellants on the market this year:
The CDC recommends three different ingredients to ward off disease-carrying insects, such as mosquitoes or ticks, and these chemicals also help prevent serious allergic reactions from chiggers and sand fleas. DEET and picaridin are synthetic compounds that do a great job of repelling insects, and oil from lemon eucalyptus is naturally effective. Depending on the age of your children, some chemicals provide better protection than others. Lemon eucalyptus oil should not be used on children who are younger than three years of age, and DEET is dangerous for infants until they are at least two months old. If you are aware of specific insects in the area, you should read the label before you purchase the repellent. Certain recipes are tweaked to provide maximum protection against specific insects, and the repellent may not be effective against the bugs on your beach.
Duration of Repellent
Look for repellents that advertise long durations of complete protection. DEET products with low concentrations of five to seven percent are advertised as lasting up to 90 minutes after their first application. You should try to pay attention to the clock, and it’s okay to apply more repellent if you notice bugs getting through to you. That’s because the effectiveness of the repellent depends heavily on the amount of physical activity a person exerts. If you are running around and breaking a sweat, the repellent will not last as long as it will while you are lying still, sunbathing. Insect repellent also washes off in the ocean, so be sure to re-apply bug repellent after you finish swimming.
Method of Application
Spray bottles are either pressurized with aerosol, or a pump is used to mist the repellent onto your skin, but these sprays are hard to direct on a windy day. Children may have trouble putting sprays on themselves, and the chemicals are very irritating to the eyes and mouth. If you are especially sensitive to the bitter taste or stinging sensation in the eyes, try using towelettes that contain bug repellant. These are easy to use and highly effective at applying insect repellent in the areas you need it most. Scented candles last for hours, but they may not work very well on the beach. Some brands offer repellent-treated shirts that protect you from the sun as well, and they are effective for nearly 70 washes. Remember to always put sunscreen on before you apply insect repellent, and never use a product that claims to do both. When sunscreen and insect repellent are combined, it reduces the effectiveness of each one.