Posted by: MummyTravels | March 8, 2012

To deet or not to deet

In the battle of the bugs, it’s not only the malarial mozzies which are a pain when you’re pregnant. Even if they don’t wipe whole countries of the travelling with bump map, the ordinary ones (which just leave you so itchy you’d pay to scratch hard enough to draw blood) are bad enough.

So travelling without repellent is a shortcut to misery. But when everything from essential oils to medicines are restricted and ill-advised, do I really want to be spraying Deet all over myself?

Although the NHS and the Health Protection Agency (HPA) say that products containing 50% Deet are safe to use in pregnancy, there’s only been limited research on the side effects, with one study showing links to birth defects if used during the first trimester.

So I tracked down one natural alternative with some impressive credentials – incognito has been tested by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on African mosquitoes and found to be as effective in the short-term as the world’s most deadly insecticide. It’s also stronger than any Deet-based product but is still 100% natural.

Now natural doesn’t equal safe when you’re pregnant (let’s face it, arsenic is natural…) but this can be used throughout and on babies from six months.

It certainly smells as vile as practically every mosquito repellent out there, although the mozzies themselves didn’t seem to be completely put off by the scent, as I still ended up with a few nibbles on my legs. But for someone who’s normally fatally attractive to any biting insects, I’d definitely use it again.

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