Best repellents rated for protection against mosquito and tick bites

Annoying. irritating and potentially dangerous: Mosquito and tick bites can ruin any outing, and the diseases they carry, like West Nile virus, Lyme disease, or Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be much worse.

The good news is that the same kinds of repellents protect well against both mosquitoes and ticks.

"Many of the better performing products contain Deet at levels of 15 to 30 percent. Research has shown that Deet is safe when used as directed, even for kids and pregnant women," said Joan Muratore of Consumer Reports.

For testing, a standard dose of repellent is applied to each test subject's forearms, then the subject places each arm into a cage of 200 disease-free mosquitoes of one species for five minutes. The repellent fails if there are two bites in one exposure period, or one bite in each of two consecutive sessions.

Consumer Reports did not test all repellents against ticks, but previous test results and further research indicate that any product that protects from mosquito bites will likely protect from tick bites.

The two top rated repellents contain Deet -- Total Home CVS Woodland Scent Insect Repellent and OFF Deep Woods Insect Repellent Eight Dry.

Also performing well in Consumer Reports' testing were 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus repellent, and 20 percent picaridin repellent.
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