HomeNewsArticle Display

DEET first line of defense against insects

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFPN) -- Whether hiking in the woods at home or serving in the sands of the Middle East, Airmen need a repellent to shield themselves from biting insects.

The active ingredient in most skin-applied repellents is commonly referred to as DEET. It is a must on almost every deployment checklist and for good reason. It protects servicemembers on the ground from mosquitoes, deer ticks, biting flies, chiggers, fleas and other insects.

“Insect bites are a painful nuisance and may even be a source of disease,” said Maj. Martin Alexis, bioenvironmental engineer for Air Force Reserve Command headquarters here. “DEET serves as a first line of defense against biting insects and other vector-borne diseases.”

Vector-borne infectious diseases continue to emerge and strengthen because of changes in public-health policy, said officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. As these diseases evolve, they become less susceptible to insecticides and drugs.

While all Airmen should use DEET, not all do, officials said.

Some people are skeptical about using it, wondering how something that repels insects can be a good thing to put on their hands, arms, faces and necks, especially when deployed and showers can be limited.

“Maybe it's sticky or uncomfortable,” Major Alexis said.

Airmen risk contracting diseases such as malaria and leishmaniasis if they do not protect themselves, he said.

"Deploying personnel are supplied with three containers of DEET,” said John Depew, 78th Logistics Readiness Squadron assistant installation deployment officer here. “One comes with their A-bag, and their units supply two additional containers. They can obtain more containers once they are in theater."

Approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1957 as an active ingredient, DEET was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1946. According to the EPA, about 38 percent of the American public uses DEET-based products.

The human body emits carbon dioxide and that is what attracts many insects. It acts like a homing device, guiding mosquitoes to their dinner. DEET disrupts an insect’s ability to detect carbon dioxide.

According to studies in the New England Journal of Medicine, DEET-based repellents provide longer protection from insects than repellents without it.

The Consumer Specialty Products Association lists some important tips to keep in mind when using DEET:

-- Always follow instructions.

-- Do not soak clothing or bedding with DEET-base repellents.

-- The more DEET in the product, the longer the protection lasts.

-- DEET-based repellents should be applied to exposed, unbroken skin.

Additional information about protection from insects can be found at www.deetonline.org or by calling the DEET education program hotline toll free at (888) 662-4837. (Courtesy of AFRC News Service)


Facebook Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: Training and repetition is key to being #AlwaysReady Exercises like #SouthernStrike2020 allow our Airmen to work with tot…
Over 100 aircraft are flying over the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the Federated States of Micr… https://t.co/XwsxbIXET9
RT @PACAF: Gen. CQ Brown Jr. met w/ allies & partners from across the Indo-Pacific & beyond @SGAirshow to showcase U.S. commitment & discus…
Good luck to all the drivers in today's #Daytona500, but we may be a bit biased on who we want to win it all.… https://t.co/PDLqBdl39X
Thanks for a great game @LAKings and @Avalanche. #ICYMI the @NHL Stadium series made a stop at the @AF_academy las… https://t.co/VyNsvpQM6o
RT @Creech_AFB: Singapore Airshow has been flying by (🥁-tss) meeting with international friends & partners! Repub. of Singapore Air Force…
Our own TSgt Nalani Quintello, vocalist with @USAFBand Max Impact, will perform the National Anthem prior to the 62… https://t.co/Asf5dTlXU8
RT @SecAFOfficial: Valuable hands-on experience @RAFMildenhall! Grateful to meet innovative #Airmen executing complex missions around the w…
RT @USAFCENT: COMBAT SEARCH AND RECOVERY | Recently USAF HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters refueled over the Arabian Gulf from a U.S. Air Force…
RT @AETCommand: It takes a ton of people to ensure our aircraft get in the air so we can train @usairforce pilots to fly, fight & win! Che…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Humbled each day to serve in the same @usairforce Brig Gen Charles McGee paved the way for. He is a genuine #American
The @AFThunderbirds will be flying over ✈️ the #DAYTONA500 🏎️ this Sunday. https://t.co/iTN0qtu0e0
RT @USAFReserve: Beating Bad Weather: Command announces indoor alternative to physical fitness assessment - https://t.co/cP93Ijrbtw #Reserv
A U.S. Air Force AC-130J Ghostrider taxis on a flightline as a French Air Force C-130 lands at Alpena Combat Readin… https://t.co/hNTIhvJYvD
Don't miss the @NHL, @LAKings vs @Avalanche playing at the @AF_Academy this Saturday at 6 P.M. MST. Good luck to bo… https://t.co/KF9WqHlqaS
Happy Valentine's Day! https://t.co/ITdKRQ8Pm8
The first senior enlisted advisor for the U.S. Space Force has been named. Roger A. Towberman, welcome to the team! https://t.co/R8Fr98q4Jn
RT @AFGlobalStrike: Feb. has been a busy month for AFGSC, with a Bomber Task Force mission to the Indo-Pacific Theater & last week's unarme…
RT @AF_Academy: ❄️ Check out this timelapse of the @NHL transforming Falcon Stadium from football to an outdoor ice arena primed for Saturd…