Archive for Thursday, August 29, 2002

All the buzz about DEET

Mosquito paranoia breeds creative solutions

August 29, 2002

I've been bitten by paranoia.

Imagine this: It's a cool Kansas evening, you're sitting on the front porch talking with friends and relaxing in your favorite chair. Suddenly, you hear something next to your ear buzzz, buzzz, buzzz. The sound is nearly deafening. You swat away the annoyance with disregard until, without warning, you feel the mighty sting of an insect no bigger than a centimeter.


You pull your hand away, discovering a mesh of tangled insect parts and the smallest drop of red fluid: you've been bitten by a mosquito. To quote Charlie Brown, "Good grief!" Thoughts race through the mind. Was it infected with the dreaded West Nile Virus? Am I going to die? How much time do I have?

Perhaps this is a tad bit irrational, but I'm sure there's more than one person who has had similar thoughts lately, given the recent scare of this mysterious mosquito-transmitted disease. My late granddad, Leroy Brown (yes, as in the song, "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown") was raised and lived all but a few years of his life on a farm. This man could walk shirtless though a field of wheat three feet tall and not get the slightest bite from an insect. Chiggers, horseflies, mosquitoes, even ticks (at times) would just leave him alone. One would think through genetics I would be privy to such a great outdoors asset. Apparently, I must have gotten my dad's dominant insect-attraction gene. Thanks a lot, Pops.

Health officials have given suggestions to help fight breeding mosquitoes: Get rid of standing water around your residence. Switch outdoor lights to the dull yellow-tint bulbs. Don't invite mosquitoes in for coffee. Another proactive way to defeat the little blood-snackers is to purchase insect repellent with DEET.

I don't know what DEET is. Sure, I could look it up and find out why this is more useful than regular repellent, but I can't waste any time. So, I'll just take their word for it. Because of this West Nile thing and my ever-increasing fear to go outside, I've thought of some possible solutions to incorporate this ingredient into common, everyday goods so we can enjoy our lives and go back to our nonchalant lifestyles.

A few suggestions:

DEET underarm deodorant/antiperspirant. No one wants to smell bad, and scratching under the arm makes you look like a monkey. With this new product, you can be free from scratching and smelling. Available in Mountain Fresh and Unscented.

All-TemperDEET. After washing your clothes in this wonderful detergent, you can rest assured even the tidy whities will be free and clear. With a new and improved formula, it will keep colors from fading no matter what temperature. Wash reds separately.

Denta-DEET. This particular product will be a favorite for those motorcyclists who love to smile when heading down the road. There's nothing worse than getting a bug in the mouth, but with this new toothpaste and mouthwash (brush not included), you can rest assured the little "bug"-er won't try to take one last bite out of the roof of your mouth.

DEETmention. A fabulous fragrance, sure to drive the opposite sex wild! When you're out on the town and she leans over and says, "You smell good. Is that DEETmention you're wearing?" Just smile You're free of West Nile and up for an evening of romance with that special someone.

Granted these are just some ideas to kick around, but I'm sure manufacturers will be knocking down my door any day now. If not, you can always use a rolled up De Soto Explorer to swat the pests away.

Just be sure to spray it with a little DEET first.

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