The frequent rains this summer have led to a bumper crop of hungry mosquitoes. Although many repellants are available, the most effective compound seems to be DEET. It works because its scent is extremely irritating to biting insects, such as mosquitoes and fleas. Unfortunately, DEET is fairly allergenic with upwards of 30 percent of individuals developing a rash after repeated use. The types of rash seen are contact dermatitis (looks like poison ivy), eczema and urticaria (hives). The fact that DEET is a somewhat irritating chemical, and that it is repeatedly applied to the same skin areas, leads to the development of allergy.
Luckily, a new effective repellant has recently been developed – picordin. It, too, works because its scent dissuades biting insects; however, unlike DEET, it is not irritating or allergenic to the skin. Also, it is tolerated even in individuals already allergic to DEET.