Are Mosquito Repellents Safe for Babies?

Protecting babies from mosquitoes is important for their health and comfort, but it’s hard to determine which repellents are safe to use. Many store-bought insect repellents list DEET (diethyltoluamide) as the active ingredient. Others contain picaridin as an alternative. Both are considered safe for children over two months old when used as directed. But there are so many types of repellents out there with various added ingredients. Here’s how to navigate which product is right for your child.   

The Right Mosquito Repellent for Babies

Sprays may not be the best choice for babies. (You can’t just ask them to hold their breath while you spray!) Fortunately, there’s a variety of formulations, including lotions, patches, wipes, balms, and clip-on devices, that are available at most retail outlets. DEET products have been available for public use since 1957. They have a long history of safe use and are considered by many experts to be the most effective at repelling mosquitoes. Look for lower concentrations of DEET, and never use products that have more than 30 percent DEET on babies. Higher concentrations are not more effective at repelling bugs, but their protection lasts longer. A 10 percent DEET formula works for about two hours, while a 30 percent one offers roughly five hours of protection. Picaridin is a synthetic compound derived from Piperine, the plant-based chemical that gives black pepper its strong flavor. It was developed in the 1980s but has only been used in the U.S. since 2005. It is non-toxic and non-greasy, and it doesn’t damage plastics or fabrics like DEET might. (Side note: Unlike DEET products, picaridin is not considered to be harmful to pets, although this hasn’t been fully researched.) 

When it comes to mosquito repellents for babies, parents may be drawn to natural options made from essential oils. There are some essential oil products on the market that are considered safe when used as directed. Just avoid oil of lemon eucalyptus, which is potentially harmful to young children. You can also make homemade mosquito repellents for babies. Be aware that essential oils typically need to be diluted with a carrier oil (coconut or jojoba oil, for example) or other substance before using, and essential oils may irritate sensitive skin. 

Related content: How to Keep Mosquitoes Away from Babies 

Products to Avoid

Besides wondering, “Can I put mosquito repellent on my baby?” parents also worry about using the wrong product, especially if it has atypical ingredients. These guidelines should help you sort things out: 

  • Review product warnings, and follow package directions exactly. 
  • Avoid using “extra” or “maximum-strength” formulas. Use the lowest concentration available.  
  • Never use products with more than 30 percent DEET on children.  
  • If using products with DEET, limit application on your child to once a day. 
  • Do not use items that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under three years old. 
  • Skip wrist-band repellents, due to risks of accidental choking and ingestion of residue. 
  • Avoid using candle-style bug repellents around babies. The fumes may hurt sensitive lungs. 
  • Do not use combination sunscreen–insect repellent products. Although convenient, sunscreen requires liberal applications throughout the day, which leads to excess exposure to the insect-repelling ingredients.    

Where to Apply and Not Apply 

  • Avoid applying products near your baby’s eyes or mouth. 
  • Skip applying to their hands and feet, too. These tiny appendages often end up in little mouths! 
  • Only apply sprays to exposed skin and over clothing. Do not apply repellent underneath clothing or to large areas of your child’s body. 
  • Never spray near a baby’s face. 
  • Avoid applying products on cuts or irritated skin. 
  • If using patches or clip-on devices, be sure they are attached out of your baby’s reach.
     

No matter how devoted you are to keeping bugs at bay, you can’t prevent every mosquito bite! When the inevitable bite happens, wash your baby’s skin with soap and water, and soothe it with a cold compress or a paste of baking soda and water. Check out these treatment tips from our Mosquito Joe® experts to learn more. 

Other At-Home Solutions to Prevent Mosquito Bites

Looking for other ways to prevent mosquito bites? Make sure your yard isn’t a haven for biting insects! Remove standing water, have your gutters cleaned by a pro like Window Genie®, and keep grass, shrubs, and trees trimmed. We recommend The Grounds Guys® for any landscaping service! To reduce the mosquito population even more, get a little help from nature. Many birds love to dine on mosquitoes, and a single bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in one night! Invite mosquito-eating creatures into your yard by creating friendly habitat for them.  

Perhaps the easiest solution of them all is getting professional mosquito barrier spray treatments from your local Mosquito Joe. Our trained and certified technicians apply specialized formulas that begin working immediately and keep working for 21 days. We offer both traditional and natural treatment options for your yard. Schedule service online or call 1-855-275-2563 to get started today. 

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Think Your Pet Has Lyme Disease? Here’s What To Do

 
Did you know that all Lyme disease is transmitted via tick bite? And while ticks may not be able to jump or fly, they love to crawl around in the grass and shrubs where your pets play. In fact, five of the ten diseases that ticks transmit to humans can also be transmitted to pets. So, if your pet carries an infected tick into your home, you could end up getting bit and even infected with Lyme disease. With the transmission of Lyme disease on the rise, it’s vital to know how to identify and treat it if you suspect your pet is infected. We’ll also share some tips on how you can protect yourself and your pets from getting infected.  

 What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an infectious tick-borne disease caused by the bacteria borrelia burgdorferi. It can be transmitted to both pets and humans through the bite of an infected black-legged tick, also known as a “deer tick.” These ticks are usually no bigger than a poppy seed, which makes them almost impossible to spot. Both dogs and cats can be infected with Lyme disease, but it’s more commonly found in dogs. Once bitten, the bacteria enters the skin, where it eventually makes its way into the bloodstream. From there, if left untreated, the bacteria can spread to the joints, the heart, and even the nervous system.  

Lyme disease is present throughout the United States, but it’s more common in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Northwestern states. While it’s highly unlikely that you would pick up an infected tick walking on a busy city street in one of these areas, you may pick one up if you live or spend time in rural areas. Tallgrass and wooded locations, places your pets probably like to run and play, are the prime hangout for these disease-carrying insects. 

 Related Topics: How to Properly Check and Remove Ticks from Your Pets 

 Symptoms of Lyme Disease 

An infected tick needs to be attached for a minimum of 24-36 hours in order to transmit Lyme disease to your cat or dog. So just because your pet got bit by a tick doesn’t necessarily mean they have been infected with Lyme disease. This is why it’s so important to check your pet for ticks after they have spent time outdoors, especially if they have been in areas that have been identified as prime tick locations. If you routinely check your pet when they come in from outside and identify that they have been bitten, you can still safely remove the tick before any infection enters their body.  

If you suspect that your pet was bitten by a tick and has been infected with Lyme disease, keep an eye out for these symptoms: fever, lethargy, stiff or swollen joints, excessive salivation, decreased appetite, on and off lameness, and reduced energy. If left untreated, symptoms can progress to kidney failure or neurological damage. An untreated infection can also be fatal, so all infections should be taken seriously. In addition, a tick that is left untreated will eventually fall off its original host and can reinfect other pets or family members. 

 What to Do If You Suspect Lyme Disease 

Lyme disease is highly treatable if it’s discovered early enough. So, time is definitely of the essence when it comes to detection. However, problems can arise when a pet that has contracted Lyme disease doesn’t show symptoms. In many cases, obvious signs and symptoms of Lyme disease don’t appear until several months after the initial bite.  

If you discover a tick on your pet or suspect your pet has contracted Lyme disease, call your vet immediately. Your veterinarian will run the proper tests and begin administering antibiotics immediately to fight the disease. For dogs, the two blood tests for diagnosing Lyme disease are called the C6 Test and Quant C6 test. Your vet should be able to perform both. If your pet tests positive for Lyme disease, make sure all the other pets in your household are checked as well. With proper treatment, your pet should be feeling better and return to normal within 3-4 weeks, with few or no long-term effects!  

 Related Topics: What’s in Natural Mosquito Yard Sprays and Do They Really Work? 

 Prevention is Your Best Defense 

Although Lyme disease can be a scary situation for pet owners, there are some things you can do to protect yourself and your pets from exposure. The best protection is obviously to avoid getting bitten in the first place. However, pets like to roam and explore, and we can’t keep ourselves or our beloved pets in a bubble. So, the next best thing you can do to protect yourself and your pets is to be vigilant when it comes to ticks. Always examine your pets thoroughly for ticks after they have been outdoors. Try to keep your grass under 6” long. If necessary, mow it consistently so ticks will have a harder time hiding and taking up residence in areas where you and your pets spend time. Also, ticks are attached to areas that are overgrown with shrubs or that have wood or branches on the ground. So, keep any piles of wood you may store for a fireplace as far away from your home as possible. Some topical flea and tick collars, shampoos, and other over-the-counter products can be effective at keeping ticks off your pets for a limited amount of time. Just be sure to check that the label says it’s safe for your pets.  

One of the best ways to protect you, your family, and your pets from ticks this season is to call to Mosquito Joe. We offer another layer of protection against mosquitoes, ticks and flies that will help you stress less and enjoy more of the great outdoors. You can never be too cautious when it comes to protecting your pets and loved ones from ticks and tick-borne illnesses. Don’t forget to ask about our natural insect barrier treatment. 

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Why Do Mosquitoes Exist?

 
The obnoxious drone of a mosquito in your ear. The itch and swell of a bite on your arm. The spread of disease. Are mosquitoes good for anything other than this? In fact, why do mosquitoes exist? 

While it may seem that these bugs are just menaces, they do fit into the larger ecosystem. Learn about a mosquito’s role and the reasons scientists and pest control specialists work to eliminate some types.  

What Is the Point of Mosquitoes?

Like other insects, mosquitoes are part of the food chain. Fish, frogs, turtles, and aquatic insects eat mosquito nymphs. Birds, bats, spiders, and other animals eat adult mosquitoes. Some species of mosquitoes are also pollinators. These insects can carry diseases, which is certainly a negative “point” of their existence.  

Related Content: What Eats Mosquitoes? 

How Long Have Mosquitoes Existed?

These insects have existed for 100 to 200 million years. Many types of mosquitoes have been preserved in amber, allowing humans to study their prehistoric existence. To put it simply, they’re extremely resilient!  

Why Do Scientists and Pest Control Experts Try to Eliminate Mosquitoes?

Why do humans want to kill mosquitoes in some cases? Well, they want to reduce the types of mosquitoes that cause significant harm to humankind. More than 400 species of mosquitoes carry devastating diseases like dengue and malaria. That’s why there are global scientific efforts to control mosquitoes like Aedes aegypti, using biotechnology and other suppression techniques.  

Related Content: What Diseases Do Mosquitoes Carry? 

What Would Happen If Mosquitoes Went Extinct?

If mosquitoes went extinct all at once, there would likely be noticeable consequences for the broader ecosystem. Many animals would need to adapt their food sources quickly. However, a mass extinction of all types of mosquitoes is highly improbable. Gradual extinctions are marked by ongoing adaptation of the ecosystem, which is the more probable scenario if mosquitoes were to die off. In other words: When an extinction is gradual, other life forms find a way to keep going.  

Mosquitoes Make Bad Neighbors

Mosquitoes have a purpose, but that doesn’t mean you have to be neighbors. You can control mosquitoes in your yard to reduce your chances of contracting vector-borne illnesses and to enjoy your property itch-free. You can do this by manually removing mosquito habitats (e.g., standing water) and by contacting your local Mosquito Joe®. Learn about our mosquito barrier spray treatments, and book online or call 1-855-275-2563 to get started.  

 

Want to relax in your yard more often? Your local Mr. Handyman® offers reliable carpentry services—they could build you a custom pergola or deck. Just like Mosquito Joe, they’re part of the Neighborly® family of reliable home service experts.  

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