Sawyer Permethrin: Jungle Tested Gear for Your Gear
Permethrin: Jungle Tested Gear for Your Gear
When I say “Jungle Tested,” I mean jungle tested. I recently spent several days and nights in the Amazon jungle of southeastern Peru. Not only were we in the jungle, but were right on the edge of the Madre de Dios River, about forty-five minutes by boat upriver from Puerto Maldonado in Peru. It was the middle of November and right at the start of the rainy season, ripe season for bug bites.
What is Permethrin?
Permethrin is a common synthetic that is widely used as an insect repellant both commercially and by the U.S. and British military. It is also used as an agricultural insecticide and insect repellant, and as a treatment for scabies. The World Health Organization lists Permethrin as one of the most essential medicines in a basic health system.
We had been advised about Permethrin by several clerks at our local REI while purchasing clothing for this trip. You simply spray it on your clothes and let it dry. One salesman suggested putting everything into a big bag, pouring the Permethrin in and shaking it all up, but we used the “hanging-the-clothes-and-spraying-them-all-while-outside” method. A 24 oz. bottle will treat 4, outfits which they describe as pants, shirt, socks and underwear. In actuality I also treated a couple of ball caps, and since my wife’s clothes are smaller than mine, we got more than just the four outfits treated.
The makers claim the treatment is still effective after up to 6 washings of your clothes. Counting all the times I sweated every article of clothing through and through, I would have to vouch for its durability to sweating as well. After soaking my clothing with sweat, washing and then sweating again over a period of days, the benefits were still readily noticeable.
The Side Effects
Permethrin is highly toxic to cats as it will adversely affect their central nervous system. It is also toxic to honey bees and fish. Human absorption is negligible and it is not toxic when sprayed on your clothing. Keep the kitty away while spraying and everything will be fine.
While others in my group of jungle trekkers were surrounded by bugs, we never got so much as one bite. Spraying my ball-cap was a stroke of genius as no mosquitos even circled my head. Some of the others in our group had numerous bites while we were fine and bite-free. It will kill ticks on contact and though it is primarily used in tropical areas to prevent mosquito- borne diseases, it works equally well here at home. Used to prevent Dengue and Yellow Fever and Malaria in the tropics, it will also keep you mosquito free on that camping trip or at that concert in the park.
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