SAN ANTONIO – Bug season is here, which means you’ll need a good insect repellent to protect you from bites.
But not all repellents can do the job. Consumer Reports tested more than 50 to find out which ones will let you enjoy the outdoors bug-free.
The volunteers applied various repellent sprays, lotions and wipes and put their arms in cages filled with 200 unharmed mosquitoes.
However, the insects that might bite you are not necessarily disease-free.
“With the increase in cases of mosquito and tick-borne illnesses, it’s crucial to protect yourself,” said Catherine Roberts of Consumer Reports.
Take Lyme disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 476,000 cases occurred each year between 2010 and 2018, up nearly 45% from the previous decade.
But not all repellents provide adequate protection.
So what works best, according to Consumer Reports’ tests?
“No matter what brand or type of repellent you use, products made with 25 to 30 percent deet work best,” Roberts said.
Repellents that get a recommendation from Consumer Reports include 3M Ultrathon8 Insect Repellent and Ben’s Tick and Insect Repellent Wilderness Formula Pump. Both excelled in mosquito and tick protection. Another recommended product is OFF Sportsmen Deep Woods Insect Repellent3.
If you prefer not to use DEET, Consumer Reports also recommends certain repellents made with 20% picaridin or 30% lemon eucalyptus oil. One of them is Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent2.
No matter which repellent you choose, to be effective it must be applied correctly. Follow label directions and apply a thin layer to all exposed skin. You can also spray on your clothes, but do not apply under your clothes.
And don’t let kids apply their own insect repellent. Instead, spray on your hands, then rub into the child’s exposed skin and face.
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