It’s nice to get away from the house sometimes. Whether you’re simply going on a walk around the block or a camping trip out in the wilderness, connecting the great outdoors is a wonderful escape from the everyday. Unfortunately, when you set foot outside, even during the colder months, you are vulnerable to all manner of insect attacks. Fleas, ticks, gnats, and flies are lurking in the grass and vegetation, and worse, mosquitoes are always on the prowl for a bit of blood.

These pests can make leaving the house so unbearable, you may just want to stay indoors. Thankfully, repellents exist to keep those bugs at bay and keep you safe. While most insect repellents ward off some insects, not every type is effective against the more dangerous bugs. However, repellents containing DEET can not only take care of the basic insects but also the disease-carrying mosquitoes and ticks as well. Here’s what exactly DEET is, and why it can help keep these dangerous bugs at bay.

Repellents exist to keep those bugs at bay and keep you safeWhat is DEET?

DEET, or N, N-Diethyl-m-toluamide, is a substance found in insect repellents. Developed by the US Army in 1946, it acted as a safeguard for the military in insect-infested areas. DEET is especially good against mosquitoes and ticks, which can carry devastating diseases. However, there has been some debate on how safe the repellent is. 

There have been numerous tests conducted on the effects of DEET, but the results show there are negligible adverse results. In fact, there are no definitive results that DEET is unsafe when used correctly. When used properly, the repellent can keep insects from landing on you by confusing their senses or because the applicant makes it difficult to land. DEET is not the same substance as DDT, which was banned in the US in 1972. Also, the percentage of DEET in a repellent determines the length of time you are protected. If you use the proper amount and apply it according to the directions, DEET can work wonders.

The Positive Points of DEET

The biggest positive point DEET has going for it is the ability to deter and repel mosquitoes. The repellent messes with the mosquitoes’ antennae and mouthparts that seek out lactic acid and carbon dioxide. Since these flying insects are considered one of the most dangerous creatures to humans, having protection is imperative.

In addition, DEET repels several other flying insects, including biting flies, gnats, and chiggers. The repellent also wards off several other blood-sucking insects like ticks, fleas, and leeches. DEET is safe to use on adults and children when applied appropriately.

Is DEET Safe?

Misusing DEET has led to a bad reputation. The possibility of DEET poisoning is incredibly low and cases of toxicity are mild. After research by the EPA’s office, there’s no conclusive evidence that DEET has any long-lasting effects. It also doesn’t affect the environment and breaks down in the sunlight once sprayed. The key is to use the appropriate concentration and follow the instructions. So, why use DEET at all? 

1.  Protects against Mosquitoes

Ideally, DEET repels mosquitoes which are dangerous and carry terrible, life-threatening diseases, like West Nile, yellow fever, and Zika virus. There are very few ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes short of eliminating standing water on your property. However, that won’t protect you everywhere else – and those flying terrors are everywhere.

2. Repels Ticks too!

Mosquitoes aren’t the only dangerous pests that can be hard to repel. Ticks can be harmful too. They carry devastating diseases such as Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and they can be difficult to spot on your own body. Once they latch and become engorged, they can transmit the disease. DEET can help keep ticks off your skin.

Ticks can be harmful too

3.  Guards Against Additional Insects

An insect doesn’t have to be disease-ridden to be difficult to keep at bay. Sometimes, the most annoying insects can be resistant to normal repellants. DEET can help protect against gnats, fleas, biting flies, chiggers, and leeches. With the right repellent, you can protect against all these nasty pests.

4. Easy to Find

You don’t have to go on a deep dive on the internet or a journey to a specific store to find a repellent that includes DEET. In fact, there are several over the counter options that are extremely easy to obtain. These repellents are EPA registered. Over 30 companies have these repellents and there are over 120 different products containing DEET. Whatever way you want to apply it, these applicants come in liquids, lotions, sprays, and other options for direct application.

5.  Safe to Use

Products with DEET are safe to use and are remarkably effective when used properly. There are no toxic side effects, and it is safe to apply to children. If you are looking for protection outdoors, it’s an easy solution. Just be sure to follow the instructions.

Applying it Safely

If you are heading outside and plan on applying repellent featuring DEET, be sure you follow the instructions. When applying, you must do the following:

  • Read the label and follow the product instructions.
  • Don’t apply on open or irritated skin.
  • Keep away from your nose, eyes, and mouth.
  • Don’t oversaturate – a little goes a long way.
  • Don’t use under clothes.
  • Wash the spray off after going indoors. 
  • Apply in open, well-ventilated areas.
  • Don’t spray on your face.
  • Help small children apply and don’t place it on their hands.

Follow these instructions properly, and DEET repellents can add a layer of protection against dangerous and annoying insects.

Concluding Thoughts

When used properly, DEET is an effective way to repel mosquitoes, ticks, and more. Don’t stop enjoying the outdoors. Check out the DEET infused products and select one that works for you. Protect yourself and your family as you head out your front door.