With the summer in full swing, many Canadians are enjoying time spent in the great outdoors. However, with the hot, humid weather inevitably comes the unwelcome presence of buzzing, biting insects.
Bites from mosquitoes, flies and ticks can cause a number of health issues, all the way from minor itching to potentially serious diseases. While insect repellents may help to minimize the risk of these bites, it’s important to remember that they are a kind of pesticide and should be used only as directed.
Health Canada wants to remind you that there are many steps that can be taken to avoid bug bites:
Cover exposed skin with clothing as much as possible, and only use insect repellents that have been approved by Health Canada. You can tell an approved product by the Pest Control Product (PCP) registration number on the label.
Choose products that best suit your needs and activities. For example, if you plan to be outdoors for a short period of time, choose a product with a lower concentration of repellent and re-apply only if you need a longer protection time.
Before using any insect repellent, make sure to read and follow the instructions and warnings on the product’s label. Many insect repellent products have restrictions for use on children and on the maximum number of applications allowed per day. Make sure to follow these instructions carefully.
Apply only a small amount of repellent and only on exposed skin or on top of clothing. Never spray insect repellents directly into your face. Spray on your hands first and then apply to your face. Repeat applications only as needed and as directed on the product label.
Keep all insect repellent containers out of reach of children and pets and supervise the application of insect repellents on children. Avoid applying repellent to children’s hands to reduce the chance of getting the repellent in their eyes and mouths.
If you or someone you know experiences an adverse reaction to any repellant product, contact either the manufacturer or Health Canada. Enjoy your time outside safely, and tell those pesky bugs to buzz off!