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Can Pregnant Women Safely Use Insect Repellents?

Pregnant Woman Spraying Mosquito Repellant To Protect Against Zika Virus

Pregnant Woman Spraying Mosquito Repellant To Protect Against Zika Virus

How to Stay Safe from Bugs and Bites this Summer

All eyes are on Rio this summer – both in anticipation of the summer Olympics, and as we hope for a resolution to the recent Zika virus outbreak. The recent virus epidemic has put Americans on high alert of the dangers of mosquitos and mosquito transmitted viruses. While there have been no known instances of mosquito-borne cases of Zika in the United States yet, all Americans, especially women, should protect themselves from the risk of mosquito bites. Before you reach for the bug repellent, understand the safest ways to stay bug bite free this summer.

Are Mosquito Repellents Safe?
Every year, over a million people across the globe die from mosquito-borne illness. Mosquito bites put us at risk for such diseases as West Nile virus, Malaria, Dengue fever, and Encephalitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the use of insect repellents to safely prevent mosquito-borne diseases. Repellents can be used to prevent bites, skin eruptions, and rashes.

How do Mosquito Repellents Work?
Mosquitos and other blood feeding insects are attracted to the carbon dioxide we release in our breath and to our skin odors. Repellents work at the skin level by masking our sent in a way that makes us unattractive for biting. Repellents do not kill the insects however, so it is still possible to see bugs flying nearby even after repellent spray has been applied. For best results, apply a liberal amount of repellent to exposed skin when you expect to be outside.

Active Ingredients
In most brands of mosquito repellents, the active ingredients include DEET or picaridin. Both of these ingredients are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use as insect repellents on skin. This means that the EPA has evaluated them for potential side effects and has determined that they are not expected to cause serious adverse effects when used as directed.

Can Pregnant Women Safely use Insect Repellents?
Studies show that mosquitos are more attracted to pregnant women, due to the extra amounts of carbon dioxide they emit while pregnant. Your extra tempting scent means you should be extra careful this summer. The safest way for pregnant women to protect themselves from mosquito bites is still through the application of mosquito repellent. According to the CDC, there are no additional precautions that pregnant women should take when using insect repellents. Both DEET and picaridin have been determined to be safe for pregnant women by the EPA. Stay away from mosquito repellents that include lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 however, as they are not recommended for use during pregnancy.

If you have any questions or concerns talk to your OBGYN. And if you are looking for a top OBGYN practice in Western New York, we are accepting new patients.  Give us a call today.

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