The BPC recommends the following precautions when using insect repellents:
- Repellents should only be applied to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label). Do not use under clothing.
- Never use repellents over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
- Do not apply to eyes and mouth, and apply sparingly around ears. When using sprays do not spray directly onto face; spray on hands first and then apply to face.
- Do not allow children to handle repellents, and do not apply to children's hands. When using on children, apply to your own hands and then put it on the child.
- Do not spray in enclosed areas. Avoid breathing a repellent spray, and do not use it near food.
- Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin and/or clothing. Heavy application and saturation is unnecessary for effectiveness; if biting insects do not respond to a thin film of repellent, apply a bit more.
- After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water or bathe. This is particularly important when repellents are used repeatedly in a day or on consecutive days. Also, wash treated clothing before wearing it again.
- If you suspect that you or your child are reacting to an insect repellent, discontinue use, wash treated skin and then call the Northern New England Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. If/when you go to a doctor, take the repellent with you.
You and your doctor can get specific medical information about the active ingredients in repellents and other pesticides by calling the Northern New England Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 or the National Pesticide Information Center at 1-800-858-7378. For a fact sheet on the ingredient DEET go to http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/DEETgen.pdf
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