As the West Nile outbreak grows, many may be looking for the best ways to avoid mosquito bites.
If you decide to try insect repellents, Consumer Reports recommends repellents with DEET as the active ingredient.
In the company’s 2010 rankings, four insect repellents with DEET tied for the top score: Off Deep Woods Sportsman II, Cutter Backwoods Unscented, Off FamilyCare Smooth & Dry and 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent 8. These repellents were effective in completely protecting against mosquitoes and ticks for at least eight hours, the organization said.
The sprays were tested by applying the product to the testers’ arms, and measuring how much time elapsed before the tester was bitten by a mosquito after he had placed his arms in a mosquitoes-filled cage. For the four products that topped ranking, there were no bites after eight hours. Consumer Reports does not recommend using products that combine sunscreen with insect repellent.
“It sounds like it makes sense — you get two for one,” said Nicole Sarrubbo, an associate editor at Consumer Reports. But people should use two separate products, Sarrubbo said, because while sunscreens should be applied liberally and often, “you don’t want to do that with bug spray.”
People should be cautious about their use of bug spray, to avoid exposure to unnecessary chemicals, she said.