Insect Repellent Questions & Answers

Spring and summer are times of the year when mosquitoes can make outdoor activities less pleasant.  However, excessive rain and flooding make mosquito problems even worse by leaving behind water-filled puddles, ditches, and artificial containers that serve as excellent breeding grounds for these pests.  Some types of post-flood mosquitoes do not transmit diseases but they still bite people and can be a significant nuisance. Other types of mosquitoes transmit diseases such as West Nile virus. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services wants to help you and your family stay safe from infections that are transmitted by mosquitoes and tick bites. So, read on if you are unsure about the basics of using an insect repellent:

Why should I use an insect repellent?

When should I use a repellent?

How do insect repellents work?

How much repellent should I apply and exactly where?

How often should I apply insect repellent?

Can any insect repellent be used on kids?

I’ve noticed that stores sell DEET in concentrations of anywhere from 5% to 100%.  How do I know which strength is right for me?

Is there a stronger solution recommended for Missourians planning to camp or who work outdoors?

In addition to using insect repellent, are there other ways to avoid insect bites?
For the prevention of tick- and mosquito-borne disease, public health professionals recommend using multiple bite prevention strategies, including:
Clothing – As a sole method of protection, unfortunately, physical barriers have their drawbacks, including that they tend to be hot, limit mobility, and do not protect exposed skin.

Tick-checks – The longer an infected tick is attached to a host, the greater the chance of being infected with a tick-borne germ.

What should I do if I find an attached tick?

Call a doctor if you get a sudden fever with chills, severe headache, fatigue, or muscle aches in this time frame.  Tell doctor the day of likely attachment and day tick was removed.