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Do Mosquito Repellent Bracelets Really Work?

Do Mosquito Repellent Bracelets Really Work?

Mosquito-repelling bracelets are a safe and simple way to avoid blood-sucking mozzies from biting you. But do they really work? This article comes up with the details.
Meghna Wani
The smell of strong perfume, pain-relieving sprays, or any other smell that has an overpowering effect will reduce the efficiency of a mosquito-repelling bracelet.

There are tons of greasy liquids, lotions, and sprays available out there that claim to keep off mosquitoes from biting you. In spite of their careful application, if you miss a spot, it remains unprotected, and those blood-hungry mozzies eventually swarm in for a feast.

One more disadvantage of these greasy topical applications is that they become diluted and tend to be washed away due to excessive sweating or swimming, leaving you vulnerable to the mercy of the buzzing mosquitoes.

To beat all these problems, a new product in the form of a bracelet has hit the market. It has started grabbing the attention of people, making them wonder if it is really possible to ward off mosquitoes with a silicone band on the hand. Let's find out through the points given below, if this wristband really works.

DEET as a Mosquito Repellent
The chemical N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, abbreviated as DEET, is the most commonly used ingredient in mosquito repellents. It is directly applied to the skin or clothing and provides protection against many types of biting insects. But there is a downside to its application, i.e., it can act as an irritant and cause epidermal reactions. Therefore, people started swearing off it.

Citronella Oil as a Mosquito Repellent
For over 60 years now, the oil of Citronella is being used as an insect repellent. The odor of the oil makes it tough for mosquitoes and other insects to locate the host, thus, protecting humans. Also, no side effects of this oil have been reported. This oil is hypoallergenic and is also considered to be GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe).

Bracelets Made Things Easier
Manufacturing companies realized the discomfort that people used to bear when they had to get sprayed with mosquito repellents, only to get bitten again after a few hours. Therefore, to make things easier, these companies impregnated citronella oil on a wristband that could be worn and removed easily.

Effectiveness is Backed By Strong Evidence
Now, the debate over its effectiveness versus uselessness has caught momentum. Let me tell you one thing―nothing comes to the market without solid background research and analysis, especially if the product is meant for the health and safety of humans. All the brands that now manufacture these bracelets have, at one point or the other, carried out some clinical trials to check the effectiveness of the product.

Potency in Rural Settings
It may be possible that in areas like swamps or the malaria-inducing belts, these bands may not prove to be effective if used singly. However, when used in combination with other mosquito repellents that contain citronella oil, it can make you immune against almost all mosquitoes.

Potency in Urban Settings
If you are not a person who goes turtle watching near the swamps, to become a snack for sand flies every now and then, perhaps then this is the right product for you. It will keep you protected from mosquitoes in all your routine outdoor activities. You will be able to enjoy picnics, do gardening, go cycling, camping, fishing, golfing, and even swimming without the fear of getting miserable, itchy welts.

In the paragraph above, I mentioned 'swimming'. Normally, when you apply DEET drops or even citronella-based ointment for that matter, it gets washed away in water. While some may claim that it stays in water, I'm sure it won't last for a very long time. However, these bands continue to remain active even underwater.

However, I would reiterate that if you are visiting a rainforest with just a bracelet, it would not help you. You have to stock on all the necessary insect repellents that would keep you protected, while the bracelet would act only as a supplement.

Factors that May Influence Effectiveness
One more factor that may alter the effectiveness of the product is that mosquitoes prefer to bite certain people more than others. This happens because every person has a unique body odor. Also factors, like people with blood group O are preferred more than those with A, and blood group B falls somewhere in between. Also, people who emit a comparatively larger volume of carbon dioxide―for example, adults when compared to children, and large people when compared to skinny people―attract more mosquitoes.

In these cases, it may happen that if two people with different blood groups are wearing the same bracelet and are out on the road, mosquitoes may prefer to bite the one with blood group O over the one with blood group A. The conclusion derived from this could be that the person with blood group O may say that "the band is not effective", whereas in actuality, both the bands are working equally well, but the person with blood group O is unknowingly nullifying its effect to a certain degree.

Most brands that are available in the market have a life of around 160-180 hours. If it is used for a specific time in a day, it should be placed in a sealable plastic bag for later use. It can also be hung in bedrooms, toilets, and other areas that you want to make mosquito-free.

Safe for Use by Children
These bands are safe for children because they do not contain DEET or any other pesticide. Another advantage is that even if the band is accidentally placed in the mouth, it will not harm you, because there is no liquid chemical that gets released or ingested. For babies, it is advised that you can hang the band to their stroller or carriage, but not close to them. These bands are eco-friendly and do not emit any harmful gases.

In summation, if you are in an urban setting, these bands will effectively help you keep mosquitoes at bay during your routine activities. If you are planning a visit to the jungle or swamp areas, even then these bands can work in conjunction with other stronger repellents.