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Thread: Picaridin Eye Irritation

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    Picaridin Eye Irritation

    I recently gave Picaridin a try for hiking. I usually keep bug repellent off my head but I must have got some on my head today that made it to my eyes from sweat. There are warnings on the label and I advise you to take them to heart. I was doing firewood today and starting having eye issues within a couple of hours. Its been several hours since and the best way to describe it is my eyes are full of dust. The claim is it will go away with time but caveat emptor, it was a nasty side effect. If you do use it, I would suggest using soap and water to get it off your hands as I think that what was on my hands from applying it is where it got on my forehead. I have never had this side effect with DEET.

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    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    DEET in one's eyes is also very irritating. (I have had the misfortune of being ~50 ft downwind of someone using a DEET spray...)

    My theory is that since DEET is an oily organic solvent it's less likely than Picaridin to be washed into one's eyes by sweat.

    IMO, DEET lasts longer when sweating, so I use DEET when hiking and Picaridin for less intense activities or when handling equipment that may be damaged by DEET.

    Doug

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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    DEET in one's eyes is also very irritating.
    Definitely! When I do use Ben's I normally spray some on my baseball hat and visor versus my actual face when I can get away with it. One hot Summer day as I dropped back down to the river in the Great Gulf from the ridge I thought it would be helpful to dunk my hat and put it on wet to cool off. BIG MISTAKE. The water ran down into my eyes and burnt like hell for 5 minutes. Fortunately I was right on the river and was able to stumble my way back to the river and splash my face so the bulk of the burning was done after about 10 minutes but I couldn't see anything for several minutes at first because it hurt way too much to open my eyes. I wasn't even sure what happened. I thought I had been bit by something until I connected the dots.

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    It took overnight for most of the irritation to diminish but it was still noticeable 24 hours after. I normally use a creme type DEET (3M Ultrathon) as I find the spray type product tends to have far more overspray. With DEET "a little dab will do yah" to coop an ancient advertising jingle (Brylcreme)

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    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    I also use the lotion form of both DEET and Picaridin. If only spray is available, I spray it onto my hand, then transfer it to its intended location.

    DEET (and likely also Picaridin) tastes terrible, so wash your hands before touching food...

    Doug

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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Definitely! When I do use Ben's I normally spray some on my baseball hat and visor versus my actual face when I can get away with it. One hot Summer day as I dropped back down to the river in the Great Gulf from the ridge I thought it would be helpful to dunk my hat and put it on wet to cool off. BIG MISTAKE. The water ran down into my eyes and burnt like hell for 5 minutes. Fortunately I was right on the river and was able to stumble my way back to the river and splash my face so the bulk of the burning was done after about 10 minutes but I couldn't see anything for several minutes at first because it hurt way too much to open my eyes. I wasn't even sure what happened. I thought I had been bit by something until I connected the dots.
    This is why I'm very liberal with the permethrin on my hats instead of picaridin or deet. It doubles as a fish net so is always going from the drink to my head, if I'm lucky.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    This is why I'm very liberal with the permethrin on my hats instead of picaridin or deet. It doubles as a fish net so is always going from the drink to my head, if I'm lucky.
    Yes I have definitely transitioned to the Permethrin bandwagon the past two years. I do my running tights, sun shirts and hats. Try to avoid using any repellent at all if I can help it. Try to combat bugs with skin coverage versus chemicals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Yes I have definitely transitioned to the Permethrin bandwagon the past two years. I do my running tights, sun shirts and hats. Try to avoid using any repellent at all if I can help it. Try to combat bugs with skin coverage versus chemicals.
    I never put any of that crap on my skin. Has anyone tried some of the newer bug repellant clothing?
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Bug repellent clothing is just regular clothing soaked in Permethrin in the equivalent of an industrial washer/dryer. I have used it but it wears out. There are firms that will treat clothing sent to them by the by the pound or the article. Some US agencies require this type of treatment for employees stationed in tropical areas. The treatment firms add a tag to each article of clothing sent with tag stating the treatment and the date. Many folks including myself prefer applying the treatment to the exterior of the clothing. It does not last as long but limits the skin contact even though its a surface treatment that binds to the cloth. Its used topically on kids for treating lice.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Bug repellent clothing is just regular clothing soaked in Permethrin in the equivalent of an industrial washer/dryer. I have used it but it wears out. There are firms that will treat clothing sent to them by the by the pound or the article. Some US agencies require this type of treatment for employees stationed in tropical areas. The treatment firms add a tag to each article of clothing sent with tag stating the treatment and the date. Many folks including myself prefer applying the treatment to the exterior of the clothing. It does not last as long but limits the skin contact even though its a surface treatment that binds to the cloth. Its used topically on kids for treating lice.
    That's good info. Surprising no one has come up with a do it yourself wash in yet. Although I do agree limiting skin contact anyhow.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Phil Werner who runs Section Hiker has a few articles about Permethrin here is one on the soak in method https://sectionhiker.com/permethrin-soak-method-guide/

    Sawyer used to sell a soak in kit that they supplied the military. Bascially a bottle of diluted concentrate, rubber gloves and some ziplock type bags. They no longer list that kit on their website. It was pricey and expect most folks figured out it was cheaper to buy the concentrate and dilute it.

    Note Permethrin works well for ticks and keeping black flies and mosquitoes from landing on the specific treated clothing but nowhere near as effective to keep black flies and mosquitoes from landing on bare skin. Netting type suits and head coverings soaked with Permethrin work as they are covering the skin. Ideally its a one two punch, Deet or Picaridn on exposed skin and Permethrin on clothing. Ticks will hide out for long periods in the folds of untreated socks. I use the dirty girl type gaiters and make sure they are sprayed often. I use zip off shorts and tend not to wash the legs for several washings of the shorts to reduce the drop off in effectiveness due to washing

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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    I never put any of that crap on my skin. Has anyone tried some of the newer bug repellant clothing?
    I have a hoodie that is factory treated with "Insect Shield" by Ex Officio and it works extremely well. I bought on clearance a few years ago. It was a size too big and is kind of heavy so I use it for car camping and it is awesome. And as peakbagger mentioned the soak method with Permithrin works well too. I do the spray version for ease/speed and have had good results but requires more frequent applications. I normally do it every Spring so the bulk of the protection lasts through the worst of bug season. I don't normally bother retreating until the following year. The factory treatments are definitely way better.

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    Permethrin does not work well as a repellent on human skin:

    https://www.sawyer.com/faq-categories/insect-repellant

    Permethrin is broken down quickly by skin oils and becomes ineffective. Permethrin is less of a repellent, and more of an insecticide. On clothing, ticks and mosquitos die when they land on treated areas.

    Even though it does not work well as a skin repellent, Permethrin is not generally harmful on skin:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK231572/

    For a skin repellent, Picaridin works about as well as DEET, but does not smell as bad or feel as oily.

    My current regimen is to spray permethrin on clothing and spray picaridin on skin.

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    Senior Member TEO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Phil Werner who runs Section Hiker has a few articles about Permethrin here is one on the soak in method https://sectionhiker.com/permethrin-soak-method-guide/
    You'll notice that Phil now sends his clothing to and recommends Insect Shield's treatment. He claims that it is significantly more durable that the home-soak method.

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    I do not know if he has an endorsement deal but at $8.50 a piece of clothing https://www.insectshield.com/product...thes-per-piece when I can buy a bottle of 10% concentrate for $20 that can be diluted and put in a spray bottle that will last for several years, I think the value proposition is buying the concentrate. Note I did not advocate soak in, another poster asked and I supplied the info. I prefer just washing the clothes at the beginning of the season and giving them a spray which carries me past tick season in the whites which has to date a much lower tick density. I prefer the spray method as its surface treatment and prefer not treating the interior surfaces or the clothing. My experience is that with my home spray approach I have rarely if ever had a tick on my post hike. The one exception is those people with cats may want to have the insect shield process done as the aerosol/liquid form of the spray product when its being applied (before its dried) can be toxic to cats if they get it on their fur. Once dry its not an issue.

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