Permethrin – a secret weapon against mosquitoes

Permethrin is a special insecticide that enables clothing to kill or repel mosquitoes

Wearing treated items will significantly decrease the number of bites you get. Treated bed nets have been shown to be four times more effective than untreated nets. When you wear treated clothes, you still need to use repellent on exposed skin. You can buy items pre-treated (especially bed nets) or treat items yourself with commercially produced permethrin packs. Follow the treatment instructions carefully to ensure the best effect. Do not throw any unused solution down the sink. It is toxic to fish. Follow the disposal instructions on the pack.

Treated articles which are immediately stored in a sealed plastic bag, will retain effectiveness for 12 months until usage is begun. A permethrin impregnated mosquito net is effective for 3-6 months of regular use. The solution wears off as well as washes off. Treated clothes are said to be active until the fourth normal wash. Do not iron treated clothes.

Is permethrin safe?
Yes. Permethrin is related to the naturally occurring pyrethrum from the flowers of a type of Chrysanthemum. Once the fabric is treated and dried, permethrin has no vapour action and nets can be used safely, even around sleeping children. Should a young child suck the net, they will not suffer any ill effects. Treated items are not more flammable. There are rare reports of persons developing a minor skin rash after wearing treated clothes.

Did you know …

The Defence forces wear permethrin treated uniforms to help keep mosquito diseases at bay. Now travellers can do the same – treat their clothes at home before they head off overseas. This will deter mosquitoes from biting through the clothes. The clothes will remain effective for up to four washes. Self Treatment Permethrin Soak packs are available from your nearest TMA.

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