Best Insect Repellents, Plus How to Keep the Mind Sharp

Advice on healthy living from the iVillage message boards

This week, family summer vacations got the women on the iVillage boards wondering what insect repellents they should be using on their kids. Nealz2007, who prefers pesticide-free products, used Avon Skin So Soft on her little one last year, but wonders if it will be effective enough to use on her trip to the Outer Banks in N.C.

Consumer Reports recently tested bug repellents to find out which ones keep the bites at bay. Not surprisingly, four of those in the top six (10 products were tested) contain the pesticide DEET. Though DEET is considered safe when used as directed on adults, it should not be used on infants younger than two months. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against using products that contain more than 30 percent DEET on children of any age—and Consumer Reports Health believes no one should be using bug sprays with more than that much DEET.

Among Consumer Reports’ top bug repellent picks: Off! Deep Woods Sportsmen II, Cutter Backwoods Unscented, Repel Plant Based Lemon Eucalyptus and Natrapel 8-Hour with picaridin. According to Consumer Reports’ test, all of these products kept mosquitoes and ticks away for at least seven hours. Both the Repel and Natrapel are DEET-free, but only Repel is all-natural. However, lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three. Natrapel uses a newer pesticide called picaridin that’s considered just as effective as DEET, but is odorless and considered less irritating. Like DEET, it can be used on children over two months of age.

Chime in: What bug repellant do you use on your little ones? Are you comfortable using DEET, or is there an all-natural product that you’ve tried and like?
 

What’s the Best Way to Treat Depression?
On the Anxiety, Panic and Phobias board, women were talking about the best way to ward off something else: depression. According to a recent survey, Americans prefer antidepressants to therapy when treating anxiety and depression. Consumer Reports surveyed 1,500 of its readers who had been treated for depression, anxiety or both. Even though respondents said they benefited just as much from therapy as they did from antidepressants, they still preferred medication to counseling.

iVillage member firstglimpse believes part of the issue stems from the stigma of therapy and mental illness. Whereas antidepressants can be taken in the privacy of your own home and forgotten about, you often have to leave work to sneak off to your therapist’s each week. “I remember seeing a co-worker exit a therapist’s office while I was in the waiting room. She was devastated! What did she think I was doing there anyway?” says firstglimpse. Cl-ijanis51 had much better luck with therapy than antidepressants in treating her anxiety. “I never found the magic pill. Thankfully, after dragging my feet for too long, I got the therapy I needed, and it helped,” she says.

Have you been treated for anxiety or depression? Tell us what’s worked for you.


Keep Your Mind as Sharp as a Tack

Something else on the minds of iVillage women this week: how to keep the brain sharp. Cl-libelulle from the Finding Your Best Life board asks, “You exercise your body, but how do you keep your mind in shape?

Cl-miladyknight exercises her mind by reading classic literature in their original languages. “I read early Greek plays, chansons de geste [epic medieval French poetry], Dante and others in the early and sometimes later forms of a language.”

Cmkarla relies on her tae kwon do class to keep her mind—and body—strong.“I really have to work in the class to remember everything (including Korean terminology). I love it, though, because it's not only a physical but mental challenge.”

If martial arts isn’t your thing, research shows that physical activities that involve learning new moves and being social, like ballroom dancing, are some of the best ways to keep your mind young.

If you’ve got something you want to get off your chest, or are looking for answers or advice, chime in on the iVillage message boards. We want to hear about it.

Like this? Read these:
- Secondhand Smoke May Cause Depression
- Getting Healthy: How to Stay Motivated
- Healthy Living Advice from Real Women
- A Breast Cancer Vaccine in Your Lifetime?

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