So is DEET so "horrible" that it's better to get rocky mountain spotted
fever or any other deadly disease carried by ticks and mosquitoes?
Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the health effects of DEET:
"As a precaution, manufacturers advise that DEET products should not be used
under clothing or on damaged skin, and that preparations be washed off after
they are no longer needed or between applications. DEET can act as an
irritant; in rare cases, it may cause skin reactions.
In the DEET Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED), the United States
Environmental Protection Agency? (EPA) reported 14 to 46 cases of potential
DEET-associated seizures, including 4 deaths. The EPA states: "... it does
appear that some cases are likely related to DEET toxicity," but observed
that with 30% of the US population using DEET, the likely seizure rate is
only about one per 100 million users.
The Pesticide Information Project of Cooperative Extension Offices of
Cornell University states that "Everglades National Park employees having
extensive Deet exposure were more likely to have insomnia, mood disturbances
and impaired cognitive function than were lesser exposed co-workers".
The American Academy of Pediatrics found no difference in safety for
children, between products containing 10% and 30% DEET, when used as
directed, but recommends that DEET not be used on infants less than two
Using your statistics, 1 in 100 ticks carry carry the rocky mountain spotted
fever bacteria. And if bitten I have a 3% chance of dying if treated, 30 %
of not treated, plus there's Lyme disease, West Nile virus, malaria, yellow
fever and many other tick and mosquito-borne diseases to be concerned about.
I think I'd chose the 1 in 100 million chance of having a seizure if I use
DEET than what appears to be a much higher chance of dying from not using
it, when I know I'm going to be exposed to lots of ticks and mosquitoes.
I use DEET everyday when temperatures are above 80. It really helps
reduce the number of chiggers and ticks. I tried dusting sulphur on
my clothes--that works too but you got to wash those clothes
It isnt just the infection, it is the sequelae afterwards that is miserable from
Lymes and West Nile Virus. I made myself a "tick suit" from ripstop nylon to
the ticks off when I was out in the woods some 30 years ago. Never had one
but I sure could hear them drop and slide.
Actually, there is a lot you can do to the backyard to cut down on ticks and
mosquitoes. The mosquito "magnet" works very well if they are started before the
first hatch. And keeping the grass cut short deters ticks. Keeping the mice and
other wild animals out of the yard is very helpful. Toss a couple moth balls
shop vac, drag the back yard with a cloth and the ticks hop on, put the cloth
the shop vac and plug the hole so the moth balls kills the ticks. Or, put some
bleach water in there with a little soap to cut the surface tension.
Somewhere between zone 5 and 6 tucked along the shore of Lake Michigan
on the council grounds of the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Winnebago
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