Use insect repellents safely. Read and follow all instructions on the label. The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) recommends the following precautions when using insect
Apply repellents only to exposed skin or clothing
as directed on the product label. Do not use under clothing.
apply a repellent to cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
Do not apply
to eyes and mouth, and apply sparingly around the ears. When using sprays, do
not spray directly into your face; spray on your hand first and then apply to
Do not allow your child to handle the product, or apply
the repellent to your child's hands. When using a repellent on your child,
apply to your hands and then putting on the child.
Do not spray in
enclosed areas, such as inside a car. Avoid breathing a repellent spray, and do
not use it near food.
Use just enough repellent to cover exposed
skin or clothing. Heavy application and saturation is generally not necessary for
effectiveness. If biting insects do not respond to a thin film, apply a bit
After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and
water and bathe. This is particularly important when repellents are used
repeatedly in a day or several days in a row. Also, wash treated clothing
before wearing it again.
Stop using the repellent, wash treated
skin, and call your local poison control center if you suspect that your or
your child are reacting to an insect repellent. If you see your doctor, take the repellent with you.
Primary Medical Reviewer
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.