Frequently asked questions

Insect repellent

Which type of insect repellent is most effective?

There are many different kinds of insect repellents in the market. Products containing N, N-diethylmetatoluamide (DEET) are generally most effective. Insect repellents containing picaridin (also known as icaridin) and IR3535 are available for those who prefer not to use DEET-based products.

Is DEET safe?

DEET has been used in human for decades . When used as directed, insect repellents containing DEET is safe, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Just like any skin care products, in rare case, using DEET products may cause skin rashes. Products containing more than 50% of DEET will increase the risk of skin rashes, blisters, and skin and mucous membrane irritation.

Tips for using insect repellents when visiting areas where mosquito-borne diseases are endemic or epidemic and where exposure is likely

  1. Apply DEET-containing insect repellents to exposed parts of the body and clothing, in accordance with product instructions on the label.

  2. Avoid using DEET-containing insect repellents in infants under 2 months of age, they shall use physical barriers to prevent mosquito bites e.g. cover stroller with mosquito netting.

  3. When DEET-containing insect repellents are to be used in children:

    • Products should contain no more than 30% DEET;

    • Do not allow children to handle insect repellents or apply it by themselves; apply to adult’s own hands and then put it on children;

    • Do not apply to young children’s hands, around eyes and mouth, or on cuts or irritated skin;

    • Do not allow children to breathe in or swallow insect repellents, and do not let insect repellents get into their eyes;

    • Wash children's treated skin or bathe them after returning indoors;

    • Wash the clothes exposed to insect repellents with soap and water.


Last revision date: 24 July 2013