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Protect Yourself from Summer's Insect Pests (page 3 of 3)

by Suzanne DeJohn

What Doesn't Work

In the battle against pest insects, skip the bug zappers. Though the electrical zaps may sound productive, the devices actually kill far more beneficial insects than pests. Avoid homemade pest repellents that contain concentrated essential oils, especially pennyroyal, as these can cause serious side effects. An herbal infusion may be safe, but it's best to check with an experienced herbalist.

Many people want to avoid using repellents containing DEET. This is a matter of personal choice: The chemical is an effective repellent, but long-term use may pose risks. Always follow label directions carefully, especially when using the repellent on children.

Although a visit to the CDC Web site is enough to make even the sanest person afraid to leave the house, the reality is that the likelihood of contracting a life-threatening, insect- or tick-borne disease is very small. Take reasonable precautions, pay attention to your health and note any aberrations, and contact your physician if you have any concerns.

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