Do Mosquito Bracelets, Clip-Ons and Patches Actually Work?
Consumers looking to avoid DEET-based repellents constantly search for alternative products. But the effectiveness of some of these products is cause for concern.
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When warmer temperatures arrive, so do mosquitoes. You know you need to protect your bare skin from these flying predators, but you also need to protect yourself from the diseases they can carry such as Zika and the West Nile Virus. Beyond that, they’re a nuisance, which is why we’ll go to great lengths to keep mosquitoes away from our home and ourselves.
As far as personal mosquito repellent, products with DEET are considered the best choice to keep the playing pests away. However, it is known to cause rashes on some people with sensitive skin and it can leave your skin smelly and slimy. There are some other methods out there, from hanging mosquito repellent string lights to plants that repel mosquitoes to homemade mosquito repellent. And there are even a few things like wristbands and patches that almost seem to good to be true, so do those things actually work?
Wristbands are marketed as safe mosquito repellents because you don’t have to rub or spray anything on your skin. However, a test by Consumer Reports found mosquito repellent wristbands are ineffective.
“When our testers stuck their arms into a cage full of mosquitoes while wearing one of two wristbands — the Coleman Naturals Insect Repellent Snap Band and the Superband Wristband — the bugs started biting immediately,” CR noted.
The Federal Trade Commission fined Viatek, another wristband maker, for deceptive marketing. The FCC said the company’s claims of protection against mosquitoes were not backed by scientific evidence.
Mosquito patches use vitamin B1 as a repellent. The patches work by saturating your skin with vitamin B1, which is supposed to make your body’s scent unattractive to mosquitoes.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information said the “results of a small number of published studies suggested that vitamin B complex supplements are not effective as repellents, but these studies were limited by the use of very few human subjects and only one species of mosquito.”
While some users say the patches do work, studies are still being done on whether they are a reliable repellent.
Like bracelets, clip-on fans seem like a good idea since you don’t use chemicals on the skin. However, Consumer Reports notes the CDC says these repellents “have not been adequately evaluated for their efficacy in preventing vector-borne diseases.”
Tests done by Consumer Reports showed the Off! Clip-On repellent, which uses a fan to circulate the chemical metofluthrin into the air around you, offered less protection than most spray-on repellents. In addition, the chemical metofluthrin is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a neurotoxin and as a potential carcinogen.
So, although some alternative mosquito repellents may sound promising, they don’t appear to work very well and may be a waste of money.