What’s the Deal with DEET?

Ben's Bug Spray 30 DEETMaybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you haven’t but chances are you’ve used it. DEET is a chemical that is used in most insect repellents to distract those pesky mosquitos from finding you. It also keeps other insects like fleas and ticks away too. There are some obvious benefits to using DEET, but just like anything in today’s world, there is an overabundance of information and misinformation making it difficult to find the answers you’re actually looking for. We’ve decided to give you the 411 on what you need to know about DEET and the products that contain it.

So, Here is the Deal with DEET:

Where did DEET come from?

In 1946, the United States Army developed DEET to protect soldiers when they were in bug infested areas. DEET didn’t become available for public use until 1957. Since then, it has been an important ingredient in all of our favorite name brand, household bug repellents such as OFF!, Cutter and Ben’s.

How Does DEET work?

Scientists were never really sure exactly how DEET worked. Some believed the insects didn’t like the smell of DEET while others believed that DEET reduced the insect’s ability to smell. Today, we’re leaning towards the latter. In 2011, scientists at Rockefeller University in New York found that DEET confuses the insects by clogging their odor receptors.

How often should I apply Insect Repellent or DEET?

Unlike sunscreen, DEET does not need to be re-applied throughout the day. The higher the concentration of DEET the longer it will last. For most situations 10% to 30% DEET is adequate but if you’re going hiking or camping, a higher concentration will last longer. It is also recommended NOT to use products that are a Sunscreen/DEET Combo. Sunscreen needs be reapplied throughout the day, while DEET does not.

Is DEET Safe for Children?

There is no definitive proof that DEET causes aliments in Children, such as seizures. Neurologists have not been able to definitively link DEET with seizures and additional tests have shown that DEET is safe to use on children, 2 months and older. According to a Parenting.com, it is best to use a DEET product of 30 percent and only apply it once a day. In addition, parents should apply the insect repellent and rub it into their child’s skin this eliminates any residue being left on the child’s hands.

Do Natural Remedies Work?

While there are plenty of natural alternatives found across the internet, scientists agree that nothing will work better than DEET. If you’re only going outdoors for a short period of time, the natural remedies might work just fine, however if you’re spending the day hiking or in the woods its best to protect yourself from diseases, such as West Nile, by using insect repellent with DEET.

Hiking through the Woods

There you have it, the short and sweet deal with DEET. If you have any questions or concerns about using products with DEET feel free to share them in the comments below.

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