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J Am Acad Dermatol. 1997 Feb;36(2 Pt 1):243-9.

Insect repellents: an overview.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Texas Medical School, Houston 77030, USA.


The optimal management of arthropod bites is prevention, and many over-the-counter insect repellents are available. Since first marketed in 1956, deet has remained the most effective repellent against mosquitoes, biting fleas, gnats, and chiggers. Permethrin is applied to clothing rather than to skin, and it is a better repellent against ticks than deet. The risk of serious side effects with the use of deet is slight; nevertheless, the lowest effective concentration should be used. The current, popular repellent agents (for adults and children) and their active ingredients are discussed. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for the safe use of insect repellents are supplied.

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