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While insect repellent is a good way to ward off disease-carrying insects, you may be making common bug-spray mistakes. One of the common mistakes is to not read bug-spray labels. The repellent you choose should depend on the type of insect you’re trying to ward off. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest using repellents with picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to prevent mosquito bites, while a spray with 20 percent or more DEET should be used to fight both ticks and mosquitos.
According to Bobbi Pritt, M.D., director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic, “Permethrin-containing products can also be used directly on clothing but should not be applied to skin.” In addition to being aware of bug-spray ingredients, it’s important to wear it whenever bugs may be present.