The best products to protect you from mosquitoes have been named. National consumer agency INC, in its magazine 60 Millions de Consommateurs, looked at value for money, performance and low toxicity.
Apaisyl (pictured below) at €5.90 for 90ml was found to be the best repellent.
Insectivor is the best insecticide spray, and Raid Night&Day is the best diffuser.
Use with caution
INC said insecticides should be used with caution and can be irritating if breathed in. They should be avoided around pregnant women or children. A study by the national French agency Inserm found they can harm children’s brain development.
Avoid putting diffusers near a sleeping baby, or in a room used by a pregnant woman, Dr Paul Henri Consigny of the Institut Pasteur’s medical institute told Connexion. “Also take care with products which look like spirals that you light and which give off fumes. They should only be used outside, and away from where people can breathe fumes in – under a table, for example, rather than on top of it,” he said.
When it comes to repellents, sprays are easy to use but may not provide even cover and are not advised for people with breathing problems. Creams are suited to the face but people with sensitive skin may have reactions to them. Roll-ons are practical but limited to exposed areas such as ankles, wrists and neck.
Repellent should be kept away from the mouth, eyes and nose and you should wash hands after using it to avoid irritation. Generally speaking, “these are products that have been used for a long time and they don’t have major harmful effects”. However, don’t use sprays on a child’s face because it risks going in the eyes and mouth. It’s better to use cream, or otherwise put spray on your own hands and spread it on.”
Dr Consigny recommends products made with chemical active ingredients, not essential oils or vitamins. “They have not been proven to be effective and some are perhaps more dangerous than useful. Some essential oils react strongly to the sun.”
He said DEET is the active ingredient that is the oldest, best-known and most tested, and has the fullest level of approval by the EU. “We’ve got a lot of perspective on it now, for all stages of life.” He said that, weighing up the risks and benefits, it is preferable for pregnant women to avoid using such products here, where you are not at great risk of a serious illness from a bite. It is recommended to cover up with clothing. It is possible to buy insecticide to put on clothing, which is safe for pregnant women, but someone else should apply it.
“Among other recommended repellents there is icaridin [also called KBR3023], as well as IR3535 and Citrodiol, though the last two have not finished being evaluated by the EU.” Dr Consigny said you should always read the bottle. “Only buy products based on what it says, as the labelling is fairly clear these days. Pharmacists are generally able to advise and the products they sell are usually indicated to suit children of a specified age.”
Guidelines for children
The Health Ministry issued guidelines on repellents for pregnant women and children. For the former – if used at all – the best are those with DEET at 20% maximum or IR3535 at 35%, and used not more than three times a day. For children aged six months to when they start to walk, choose ones including citriodiol or PMDRBO at 20-25%, with IR3535 at 20%, or DEET at 20%, used once a day, or twice a day for children up to age two.
For ages two to 12, opt for ones with DEET up to 50%, IR3535 up to 35%, or KBR3023 and Citriodiol to 25%, with two applications a day. Up to three applications may be used after age 12.
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