Information Update - Using personal insect repellents safely
May 9, 2017
As we head into the warmer summer months, don't forget to protect yourself from pesky bugs that bite! Bug bites can cause a number of health problems, from itchiness and irritation to potentially serious diseases. Personal insect repellents can help protect you from mosquito, blackfly and tick bites, but it's important that they should only be used as directed.
If you are using an insect repellent, always follow the label directions. To check for the most recent product information, use Health Canada's online search to check for the most recent product information. You can also check the new pesticide label search mobile app.
What you should do
Preventing bug bites is your best protection! To help avoid bug bites, cover exposed skin with clothing as much as possible. If you choose to use a personal insect repellent, follow these important steps:
- Use insect repellents that have a Pest Control Product (PCP) registration number on the product label. That indicates that the product has been approved by Health Canada. Always read the entire label carefully before using and follow all directions. The label can include restrictions for use on children and the maximum number of applications allowed per day.
- Only apply a small amount of repellent on exposed skin or on top of clothing. You don't need a lot for it to be effective.
- Never spray insect repellents directly into your face. Spray on your hands first and then apply to your face.
- Try not to get repellent in your eyes. If you do, rinse them immediately with water.
- Keep all insect repellent containers out of reach and sight of children and pets, and supervise the application of insect repellent on children. Avoid applying repellent to children's hands to reduce the chance of getting some in their eyes and mouths.
- If you are concerned that you might be sensitive to a product, apply a small quantity to a small area of skin on your arm and wait 24 hours to see if you have a reaction.
- If you suspect that you or a family member is reacting to an insect repellent, stop using the product immediately, wash treated skin and get medical help. When you go to the doctor, take the product container with you.
Report health and safety concerns
Report any adverse events to the manufacturer, who is required by law to report it to Health Canada. You may also report an incident directly to Health Canada by completing an incident report form.