• Sarah Nantel


So with the warmer weather, most people will try to spend more time in the Great Outdoors. And as a result, we also get to spend more time with the no-so-great insect population!

The importance of protecting your family from insect bites is because there are some diseases that are spread by infected insects, like mosquitoes, ticks, flies and flies. So to protect your family, here are some suggestions.


It is best to protect your skin from bites by wearing light-colored clothes. Also, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, hats, shoes and boots (instead of sandals) will cover up more skin.


For babies that are less than 6 months old, insect repellent is not recommended. Try to keep these little ones inside when insect activity is high, use mosquito netting, and cover up with clothing.

For children 6 months to 2 years old, insect repellent can be used if there is a high risk of complications from insect bites. It is best to only apply insect repellent once a day for this age group.

For children older than 2 years old, insect repellent can be used up to 3 times a day.

It is recommended to choose a DEET product that is of lower concentration (10% of less) and use only on exposed skin but avoid the face and hands. Make sure not to apply insect repellent to any cuts, abrasions or irritated skin.

Only use a small amount and to limit how much insect repellent children are exposed to, try to apply only at times of the day when exposure to insects is higher and the insects are most active.


If sunscreen and insect repellent both are needed, remember to apply sunscreen first and then insect repellent. Everyone will need a generous amount of sunscreen with SPF 15 or more and this should be reapplied every two hours. Then apply the insect repellent as indicated on the products instructions. Typically insect repellents that have DEET should not be applied no more than every two to six hours and avoiding the face.

There are some combination (sunscreen and insect repellent) products available on the market. Though it may seem like a convenient thing to use, Health Canada advises against using these products. With the combination products, there is the potential that the sunscreen may not work as well to protect against UV rays due to the presence of the repellent. And also, the toxicity of the repellent may be increased by the sunscreen by increased absorption of the DEET and this is especially concerning in children.


Most recently in the media, are concerns about Zika Virus, which is transmitted by affected mosquitoes in certain parts of the world. At this time, it seems Zika is most concerning for pregnant women and their fetuses. For more information, I recommended checking out Health Canada for travel advisory information.


West Nile virus is another mosquito borne illness that hits closer to home, here in Canada. The risk of becoming infected starts mid-April and lasts until October. The greatest risks of West Nile virus are during the summer months of mid-July to early December. For more information, Health Canada has great information here.

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