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Family Central: Buzz Off, Mosquitos

As if you needed another reason to avoid slathering DEET-laced mosquito repellant all over your kids this summer: New studies indicate mosquitoes might be growing immune to DEET.

Many people already try to avoid DEET (diethyl-meta-toluamide), the chemical in most mainstream mosquito repellants. DEET can be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream, and has been linked to side effects including rashes, hives, twitching, muscle spasms and, in rare cases, even death. Children, because of their lower body weight and gentle skin, are especially sensitive to DEET, and parents are cautioned to completely avoid its use on children under three.

Now, however, in a recent study, 13 percent of female mosquitoes were found to be indifferent to DEET. More ominously, half of the offspring of those mosquitoes were then also found to be resistant to the chemical. The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a respected scientific journal.

DEET formulas have stayed popular despite the negatives because natural repellants haven’t always been as effective. But now, I can recommend a natural mosquito repellant that truly works.

It’s called Buzz Away. It’s chemical free, and made with natural essential oils that repell mosquitos, as well as gnats, ticks, no-see-ums and fleas. And, yes, it works. In tests from the Good Housekeeping Institute and Canada’s University of Guelph, Buzz Away was shown to last for up to two hours and to be more effective than similar natural products, and just as effective as some chemical products.

Because it’s not laced with chemicals, Buzz Away is lightly scented and doesn’t have the strong odor associated with other sprays – so it won’t be as much of a hassle to get your kids to stand still while you apply it. It comes in several application forms, and you’ll find it in our Healthy Living department.

However, common sense still applies. It works based on its scent, so you’ll need to reapply Buzz Away more often – at least once every two hours, but more often than that if swimming or in a really hot climate, according to the manufacturer, Quantum Health. You should also avoid getting it in your eyes or mouth, and never leave it where little children can get hold of it on their own.