Being a tropical country, with rain and sun in a day, mosquitos are common in Singapore. There are the dengue spreading mosquitos that strike fear in us but most of the times, bites from mosquitos are quite harmless, except for the itch. For adults, we can easily resist the urge to scratch. However, when the kids get bitten, it can spell trouble for the parents. Children usually cannot control the urge to scratch. They can unknowingly scratch too hard and cause bleeding to take place. There are few types of insect repellent available in Singapore, for instance chemical repellents or natural repellents.
For chemical repellents, most of them contain the chemical DEET (Deet (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide). Some may contain the chemical Picaridin or Permethrin. Of the three, DEET and Picaridin are the most effective in repelling mosquitos.
However, it has been well documented that DEET , while effective against mosquito, can cause rashes and is not suitable for babies younger than 2 months. Canada Health actually advised against the use of DEET products on babies under 6 months of age! Picaridin, is also not suitable for babies below 2 months of age. Lastly, Permethrin is an insecticide and should not be applied onto the skin. Repellent with this chemical is designed for use on clothing only. (Source from NEA website)
Whichever chemical repellent you use, if you develop a rash from using the repellent, wash off the repellent off with mild soap and water. Consult a doctor, taking the repellent with you to show the doctor.
Those who do not like chemical repellents or have young kids at home, you may prefer repellent made from natural products, such as lemon eucalyptus, citronella, lemongrass, peppermint or cedar. Of all, lemon eucalyptus is tested to be the most effective, but it should not be used on children less than 3 years old. This is advised by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.
The other effective option is citronella. As with all other natural repellents, the effect is short-lived compared to chemical repellents and would require more frequent reapplication, generally, every couple of hours.
In Singapore, a popular choice of natural insect repellent comes in the form of the mosquito patch. However, after trying them for a while, we soon discover that the patch has its limitations.
One thing we found was that the reach of the citronella smell is not adequate to cover the while body, which means, we need at least two pieces at one time (no wonder they come in pack of two). And when we thought we had stuck enough to have full coverage, our son still managed to get bitten after a day out at the zoo.
We started to explore other natural and chemical-free options and came across the Buds Mozzie Clear Lotion. It is a lotion type insect repellent that contains citronella oil to repel insects, and Portulaca extract and Aloe Vera to hydrate the skin. It is 100% organic and made from natural products. We opt away from the spray type repellent as we read that they can contain nano particles which can be harmful to young children.
The Buds Mozzie Clear Lotion feels light, non-greasy, and the citronella smell is mild and gentle, unlike some other natural repellents that have overpowering smell and give you a headache from the smell. Ever since we started using the Buds Mozzie Clear Lotion, there has been no more bite. It is easy to apply and is suitable for the whole family, including babies. We have been using it on our 7 month old when we head to the parks. Here is how the lotion looks like.