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What's Going Around: Insect Repellent 101

August 27, 2012

Doctors in central Virginia are making sure you know how to keep yourself bug bite free. In this week's What's Going Around we're talking about insect repellent 101.

Our medical information is coming to us from Dr. J. Yates Sealander of Madison Family Medicine. We're talking about the two main types of insect repellent: DEET and Permethrin. Dr. Sealander says both are safe when used properly.

DEET can be found in common sprays like OSS, Cutter's and Repel. They are mostly for spraying on skin to repel mosquitoes and biting insects. They come in varying percentages from 10 to 100 percent.

Sealander says 50 percent DEET gives the maximal protection. Products that contain 10 to 30 percent are safe to use on children. However, you should avoid use on children under two months old.

Permethrin can be found in the brand called "Permanone" and is used on clothing, especially the pants and shoes to repel ticks. When applied to clothing, its effects on that clothing will last for more than 10 wash cycles.

Dr. Sealander says a combo of DEET on skin and Permethrin on clothing provides the best protection.

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