Summer’s Best Insect Repellants That Guard Against the Zika Virus

There is no vaccine to prevent the Zika virus and no drug treats it.  The best defense against Zika is to avoid contracting it all together.

That means completely avoiding mosquitos.

In the summer time.


What is the Zika Virus?

Truthfully not a whole lot is known about this virus. Scientist are continuing to study the virus to gain further insight on it’s causes, how it affects the body and how to combat it.

Here’s what is what they know so far:

It is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.
The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).
The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week
People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital
Zika Virus deaths are extremely rare.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects.
Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to develop an immunity to the virus.

That doesn’t sound too bad—right?

Still skeptical?

There are insect repellants on the market that can help you avoid mosquito and other disease carrying bug bites.

Consumer Reports tested 16 insect repellants in an effort to find the most effective brands that can help you steer clear of a host of bugs that are carriers of highly infectious diseases.

The repellants were tested for their effectiveness in preventing bites from the Aedes mosquitoes, which not only carry the Zika Virus, but the Chikungunya viruses as well. It tested the repellant’s abilities to guard against Culex mosquitoes, which are known to spread West Nile virus and against deer ticks, which can carry Lyme and other diseases.

The results:

Natural repellants failed miserably.

The only natural repellant that performed well was Repel 30% Lemon Eucalyptus. It was able to ward off the disease carrying pests for seven hours.

The repellants that fared well in the test, such as Sawyer 20% Picaridin and Ben’s 30% Deet Tick and Insect Wilderness Formula, contain an ingredient called DEET.

Now comes the paradox.

There are concerns that DEET can be harmful, even toxic, especially for children.

According to the EPA, repellants containing DEET are extremely effective at repelling disease carrying insects and are safe for kids if used as directed.

Here are some precautions to keep in mind when using repellants containing DEET:

Choose a repellant with no more than 10% to 30% concentration of DEET (look for N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide on the label).
It is not recommended for babies younger than 2 months old.
It should not be used on the face, under clothing, on cuts or irritated skin, or on the hands of young children.
Do not use a product that contains both sunscreen and DEET.
It should not be applied more than once a day.

For a complete list of the ratings and recommendations for the most effective insect repellants and the detailed results of the test, visit the Consumer Reports website

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Author Profile: Consumer Expert Denise Hill

Denise is currently a writer and editor for a federal agency in Washington, DC. She is an open-minded free spirit always ready for new adventures. She enjoys traveling and relishes being exposed to alternate points of view. Faith, family and finances are the core of her value system. She follows her own path and marches to her own beat. She is a dream chaser and with her husband and best friend by her side, she plans to take over the world.

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