Thumbs up, thumbs down: Which bug repellents should you use on kids?

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HOUSTON – hould you take a chance that a bug bite might lead to a mosquito- or tick-borne illness, such as Lyme disease, or expose kids to the chemicals in some insect repellents, such as DEET?

Experts say DEET is more helpful than harmful since it can protect against ticks and mosquitos, which carry disease. In our area, we have serious reason to be concerned about West Nile Virus, too. There have been several mosquitos test positive for it this summer in Harris County and the city of Houston.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises refraining from using repellent on infants younger than two months and not letting kids under 10 apply it themselves.

According to Dr. Helene Sheena, a pediatrician with Kelsey-Seybold, adults should apply it to their own hands, then rub the repellent onto young children.

Here are her other recommendations for insect repellants:

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DEET is considered the most effective protection against both mosquitos and ticks.