Insect repellents

Latest update: - Authors: Mieke Croughs, Ula Maniewski-Kelner

Insect repellents contain a product that repels insects, without killing them.

The following products are recommended: DEET, (P)icaridine, IR3535 and Citriodiol. These are effective against mosquitoes, the Phlebotomus (sandfly) and the Simulii (midges). However, they are only moderately active against fleas and ticks.

The use of repellents should always be combined with other mosquito-repellent measures.

How to use?

How to apply

  • Apply on all non-covered areas of the body, but avoid contact with the mucous membranes (eyes, mouth), wounds, eczema patches or severe sunburn.
  • Do not skip any single spot of your body, because the product is only effective on the area where it has been applied.
  • Wash your hands after use.

Children and pregnant women

  • The use of repellents for young children and pregnant women is only recommended if other mosquito-repellent measures cannot be implemented adequately.
  • Do not apply the product on children’s hands and store out of reach of children.
  • Rinse the product in a mosquito-free area.

Clothing

  • Some repellents can also be applied on clothing, but the effect is very limited.
  • Clothing that has been impregnated with an insecticide (permethrin) is effective, but may not be used for children. 
  • Combine impregnated clothing with repellents on bare skin.

Insufficient protection

The following products offer insufficient protection:

  • Pure essential oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • Products containing plant-derived substances, such as citronella
  • Bracelets with insect repellents
  • Devices that emit (ultra-)sound
  • Vitamin B1 

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