As you protect yourself and your family members against the Covid-19 virus, it is equally important to stay safe from other existing viruses that cause diseases. One of these is the dreaded mosquito-borne Dengue virus. Dengue is a disease that typically affects people in tropical and subtropical areas but has rapidly spread in other parts of the world. With an estimated 100-400 million infections each year, as reported by the World Health Organization, Dengue’s global incidence has grown dramatically in recent decades.
There is still no specific treatment of dengue. Breaking the cycle of Dengue transmission is the only way to protect yourself and the people around you from Dengue.]
As of today, there is still no specific treatment of Dengue. Breaking the cycle of Dengue transmission is the only way to protect yourself and the people around you from Dengue. One of the most common ways to combat Dengue is by applying insect repellents daily. Insect repellents in the market are typically formulated with synthetic/chemically active ingredients or plant-based repellent substances that keep mosquitos away when applied on the skin.
DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) as the most effective insect repellent ingredient
As there are many insect repellents available in the market nowadays, you might find it difficult to decide which one to use for your family’s protection. What should be your standard when it comes to insect repellent?
When choosing an insect repellent, make sure to check the substances present in the product. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, repellents that contain DEET (chemical name N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is the most effective broad-spectrum insect repellent component with long lasting protection from insects like mosquitoes, ticks, flies, chiggers, and fleas.
DEET does not kill insects. What it does is to interrupt the receptors in the insects’ antennae, making it hard for the insect to locate humans and preventing them from landing on human skin or clothing.
In the 1940s, DEET was originally used by chemists of the United States Department of Agriculture for US military consumption. Because of its effectiveness in repelling insects, DEET-based repellents were later on made available commercially. Since 1957, DEET has been widely used as an ingredient for insect repellents.
DEET-based insect repellents are also an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered products proven to be safe and effective even for expecting and breastfeeding women. Moreover, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) insect repellent guide reports that DEET is safer than most people assume. It is also highly effective for areas with disease-carrying pests.
(* WHO = World Health Organization; EPA = Environmental Protection Agency; CDC = Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; AAP = American Academy of Paediatrics; NEA = The National Environmental Agency)
Safety and Efficacy of DEET
Although DEET has been labelled most effective when it comes to repelling mosquitoes, some people refuse to use DEET-based repellents, thinking that it might be too harsh or toxic, especially for their children. The truth is that DEET-based repellents are safe as long as they are used as directed and contain the right DEET concentration. A 100% DEET is not necessary to effectively repel insects.
According to a study by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, DEET-based insect repellents are relatively safe when used as recommended. The study also states that a mosquito repellent containing 10% DEET can provide a longer period of protection than other repellents, based on a one-time application comparison.
Likewise, contrary to what others fear, there is no reliable evidence to link DEET usage to cancer. EPA’s Office of Pesticides Program has not labelled DEET as a carcinogen.
DEET vs Natural Repellent
An evaluation conducted by Vector Control Research Unit of Universiti Sains Malaysia’s laboratory evaluation shows that a mosquito repellent cream containing 10% DEET holds 66% longer protective efficacy against mosquito landings compared to a citronella spray, a natural repellent, with 15% concentration.
Another study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine shows a formulation containing 23.8% DEET can protect for an average of 301.5 minutes or 5 hours. In a similar study, non-DEET repellent can provide protection for 1.5 hours. For instance, repellents containing IR3535 or ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate can give protection for 229 minutes. On the other hand, citronella-based repellents can give protection for only 20 minutes or less.
NEA-approved DEET-based insect repellent
Though people stay indoors most of the time nowadays, Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) still recommends daily application of mosquito repellent on skin and clothes, especially if you live in a dengue cluster.
An NEA-approved insect repellent safe for everyday use of the whole family is Ceramoz® Mosquito Repellent Cream. Ceramoz is uniquely formulated with DEET, which is scientifically proven to repel mosquitoes up to 66% longer than citronella repellent. What makes Ceramoz safe for daily use is its ceramide-dominant 3:1:1 lipid ratio formulation. This formulation is essential in maintaining the skin barrier function and moisturizing your skin.
As it contains only 10% DEET, Ceramoz is safe even for children two months onwards, pregnant women and people with sensitive skin. It protects from mosquito bites while moisturizing the skin. This hypoallergenic mosquito repellent is free of fragrance, paraben, and colourants.
With 10% DEET, Ceramoz is safe even for children two months onwards, pregnant women and people with sensitive skin
In addition to Ceramoz®, another complimentary product, Ceradan® Soothing Gel is a clinically proven rapid itch reliever and provides itch relief in 5 minutes. Suitable for all skin types, this soothing gel provides cooling sensation while providing itch relief and transient numbing effect.
While you do everything to protect yourself and your family from the Covid-19 virus, don’t let down your guard with other viruses like Dengue. Start your Dengue prevention measures by applying daily a DEET-based mosquito repellent that is tough on mosquitoes but gentle on the skin.
Results may vary.