Mosquito Sprays: What Works? What's Safe?

By Elizabeth Temple - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) –  If you have not gotten a mosquito bite this summer, then you probably have not been outdoors. After recent rains, the mosquitoes are breeding fast in leftover warm standing water like puddles. Fighting off bug bites is a never ending battle, but one grandmother takes every precaution and still finds it hard to keep her grandchildren safe.

Trudi Trost does not take her grandchildren outside to play late in the day to avoid the heat and bugs. "Of course I spray them with a lot of mosquito spray and I try to keep them out of tall grass," she added.

Experts say Trost is doing the right thing, but she says, "they still get a few bites anyway."

Doctors say keeping mosquitoes away from children under two years old is very important because the bites can cause swelling.

"One mosquitoes can bite your baby at least 20 times while he's sleeping," said Dr. Yoko Broussard, Internal Medicine doctor from the Medical Group at Christus St. Patrick Hospital.

She says most sprays contain a bug zapping chemical called deet, and this chemical can be toxic to babies under two years old. Non-deet formulas exist, but Dr. Broussard says she is not sure they really keep the bugs at bay.

"A lot of these natural remedies unfortunately are not under FDA regulations and so they don't have to go through the regular studies to prove whether they work or not," she explained.

Avid fisherman and manager of Lake Charles Tackle, Tyler says the non-deet sprays work.

"Never had mosquitoes during the day and we use it," said Trullier.

But if you just cannot stand having even one mosquito bite, Trullier recommends a non-spray bug repellent called Thermocell.

"Thermocell creates a twelve foot dome over you," explained Trullier.

He says not much can get past this dome. Trullier says he will stick to the deet-free formulas for now because, after all, they smell better.

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