Asthma and DEET

I have been reading lately about the dangers of West Nile Virus, carried by mosquitoes. Those articles recommended using mosquito repellent and specifically repellent using the ingredient DEET. I’ve noticed many mosquitoes here lately, so I went out and bought repellent with 40% DEET, the strong stuff. Three days ago, Saturday July 12, I went for a nice long bicycle ride. Before I left, I applied the DEET spray according to the directions and thought no more about it after the smell faded. I made the same ride on the same bike that I have done twice before this season, and took the same breaks. The ride was a bit shorter because I didn’t go into the village at the other end of the Kokosing Gap Trail from where I live.

By the time I returned home I noticed that I felt more tired than usual. I had a slight headwind (5 mph) and I attributed the fatigue to that. That amount of wind does not mean much here in the Midwest, though. Usually we have more wind than that.

I spent the rest of Saturday sitting quietly, trying to catch my breath, except for a short ride to a meeting that cost me more effort than usual. Sunday morning, I took a walk I’ve done at least a dozen times before, and it proved very difficult that time. By the time I returned home I was sweating hard and very tired. I spent the rest of Sunday and all of Monday doing nothing physical. I have been tired, short of breath, and had symptoms from a relatively minor heart condition. Now, late on Tuesday morning, I think I can return to my usual routine this evening. I hope so. I don’t like being ill or sitting around.

Obviously, DEET is the generally accepted ingredient to repel mosquitoes. Just be careful about using it. I did a Google search after the fact on the words “DEET” and “asthma.” I am not the first to experience this issue. Please don’t be the next.

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