Bug bites are the worst. But even worse? Watching your kids squirm as they try to scratch one. It might seem that mosquitoes are the Kryptonite of any hot weather outdoor outing. But dear parents, there are other options on hand, and one of those is the BuzzPatch bug-repellant sticker.
Otherwise indistinguishable from a regular sticker, BuzzPatches are citronella-soaked pieces of fabric that go on kids’ clothing and can help provide a bubble of bug protection. Just stick one on to a shirt or pants leg and mosquitos, which detect humans via body odor, the carbon dioxide humans emit, and other sensors, should get the message to stay away.
A little background: Citronella oil, according to the National Pesticide Information Center, is a naturally occurring insect repellent that is distilled from two grass varieties. An important caveat: research shows that citronella is nowhere near as effective at warding off bugs as chemicals like DEET. In fact, the CDC discourages the use of essential oils blends as bug deterrents, warning that they give people a false sense of security against disease-carrying insects. So if you’re in a buggy area where risk of lyme, Zika, or the like is high, BuzzPatches aren’t going to cut it.
But for those who only need light protection, BuzzPatches are an option. (The CDC says DEET is safe for kids over the age of 2 months, but cautions not to breathe it in, swallow it, or let kids under 10 apply it themselves.) While essential oils can be irritating to some, BuzzPatches don’t have to go directly on the skin, so it’s unlikely they’ll do any damage. Still, look out for any irritation, like a cough, runny nose, trouble breathing, or a rash.
Older kids may be able to tolerate traditional bug spray, but they’re much more likely to stand still for a sticker than a bug spray application. And if your kid is going to cover him- or herself in stickers anyway, they might as well get some bug protection out of it. BuzzPatch recommends one sticker for kids two and under, two stickers for kids ages 3-5 (one on their top and one on their bottoms) and one sticker on or near each limb for older kids and adults.
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