I love to work in my garden, but now that I’m pregnant, I’m worried about using insect repellents. Are they safe?
Stay away from insect repellents that contain the active ingredient diethyltoluamide (DEET), which has triggered a handful of severe allergic reactions. And pass on cream-based repellents or those that contain sunscreen. These products contain harsh chemicals that could be hazardous to the fetus when applied directly to your skin.
Instead, Christann Jackson, M.D., advises that before dressing, try spraying the outside of your clothing — rather than your skin — with DEET-free repellents. Do this outside or in a well-ventilated room to avoid dizzying fumes. And be sure to wash your hands afterward. Even better: Have a friend spray it on for you.
An oddball repellent alternative: Tuck a Bounce fabric softener sheet into a pocket. Bugs steer clear of its scent, according to Joey Green, author of Wash Your Hair With Whipped Cream (Hyperion, 1997).