Consumer reports: best bug repellents

Consumer Reports

CONSUMER REPORT — Bug-borne diseases are on the rise all across the country. And it’s not just the ones you may have heard of — like West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain

spotted fever — new ones are sprouting up.

“According to the CDC, at least nine mosquito and tick-borne diseases have been reported for the first time in the U.S. since 2004. So it’s really important to protect yourself against these diseases,” said Catherine Roberts of Consumer Reports

A good form of protection can be insect repellent. Testers apply a standard dose of repellent to test subjects’ skin. After 30 minutes, these willing panelists stick their arms into cages filled with 200 disease-free mosquitoes.

“Our testing paints a pretty clear picture – no matter the brand or what kind of repellent you’re using – products made with 15 to 30 percent deet worked the best,” Roberts said. 

Two of CR’s best buy options are: Total Home (CVS) Woodland Scent Insect Repellent, and 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent8. The EPA says deet has been thoroughly tested and is safe when properly used. 

If you’re still looking for a non-deet alternative, products containing at least 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus can make good alternatives. There are also some effective repellents with 20 percent picaridin.

No matter which repellent you choose, to be effective, it has to be applied properly. Use a thin coat on all exposed skin. You can also spray on top of your clothes, but don’t apply under your clothing.

Also be sure to wash your hands after applying and wash off the repellent after returning indoors.

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