Be careful around pesticides

After what felt like the shortest, coolest spring, our Minnesota summer has finally arrived! With the warmer weather finally upon us, we get to enjoy flowers blooming, grass growing, and all those pests that also enjoy the springtime weather. So is it a good idea to use pesticides to get rid of these critters? Pesticides are chemicals used to kill or keep away insects and rodents.

You can use some pesticides in your home. Others are for use only outside or on crops.

In her book, “Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby,” Dr. Siobhan Dolan states that “We don’t know for sure what effect pesticides have on an unborn baby. In some studies, high-level exposure appears to increase risk of miscarriage, premature birth, low birthweight, birth defects and learning problems.

Although pesticide use is regulated by the federal government, there is a lack of agreement over pesticides’ safety.”

If you are pregnant, it makes sense to avoid pesticides whenever possible. Try to use traps, like mousetraps, instead of pesticides. Be careful not to set traps in places where children can get to them. Stay away from rodents and have someone else empty the trap. Have someone else put the pesticide in your home.

Put food, dishes and utensils away before using the pesticide. If you need to use it, have someone open the windows to air out your home and wash off all surfaces where food is made after using the pesticide.

If you use pesticides outside your home close all the windows and turn off the air conditioning. This helps keep pesticides in the air from coming into the home. Wear rubber gloves when gardening to avoid touching pesticides. And, as tempting as it might be, try to avoid walking barefoot in the grass.

In certain areas, you may need to consider using an insect repellant. Many insect repellants contain DEET (diethyltoluamide). According to Dr. Dolan, “Recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control don’t tell pregnant women to avoid DEET.

But it’s reasonable to stay away from it if you possibly can, unless you’re in a situation in which using it makes more sense than not using it.

For example, if you’re camping in an area that’s crawling with ticks or buzzing with mosquitoes, applying insect repellent makes a lot of sense. In that situation, the risk of getting Lyme disease or West Nile virus, which can be harmful to you and your baby, outweighs any theoretical risk that might be posed by the insect repellent.”

You also can prevent bites by staying indoors in the early morning or late afternoon when mosquitoes are most likely to bite.

Summers in Minnesota are great, if we could just get rid of those pesky mosquitos!