Without a doubt mosquito season is here. Itchy annoying bites and concerns of West Nile Virus are far from anyones favourite part of summer but the drug store bug spray is full of chemicals and the natural solutions don’t work… What to do?
DEET seems to be the standard for bug spray. Sure it works, but it’s pretty nasty stuff. Is effectiveness worth neurological damage? Probably not. When the Environmental Protection Agency suggests washing it off once you’re back in the house you know that it can’t be good for you. The areas of the brain that control muscle movement, memory, learning and concentration can experience damage after exposure, but it may not be until years later that the effects are seen. Headaches, memory loss, fatigue, weakness, muscle and joint pain, tremors and shortness of breath can all possibly be attributed to DEET exposure. Not worth the risk in my opinion. There are plenty of alternatives out there:
- Wearing longer sleeves and pants: A physical barrier between you and the biting critters makes the most sense. Plus this works for other concerning insects such as ticks. You’ll actually stay cooler when your skin isn’t directly exposed to sunlight as well. Sun protection, bug protection and heat protection? Sign me up!
- Stay inside before the sunrise and after the sunset: These are the best times to get bit! If you’re going to be sitting on the patio with a few beverages once the sun sinks beyond the horizon consider changing clothes and taking up the previous point of covering your skin. Cleaning up any standing water on your property will help keep breeding grounds away from your home as well.
- Products containing Neem Oil: Last year while visiting a country where mosquitoes with dengue fever were known to lurk (as well as a risk of malaria) I used a locally made repellant containing neem and survived three weeks without a single bite! If you’re seeking out a product to put on yourself I would definitely suggest buying one containing this oil.
- Some seem to be more attractive to winged creatures in the summer months- Why is that? Those who are deficient in the B vitamins are known to be more attractive to mosquitoes. Using a B complex to supplement excessive B vitamins (try a B100 or 2xB50’s) will result in the unabsorbable vitamins being excreted. The smell of the excess B vitamins is apparently unsavoury to bugs and they’ll stay away.
- Suzy Cohen’s “Skeeter Spray”
Make your own spray bottle of mosquito repellant by adding the following essential oils to 8 to 10 ounces of water (adjust oils based upon scent if you want):
8 drops Vetiver
6 drops Lavender
4 drops Lemon
2 drop Ginger
3 drops Wormwood oil
Combine these oils together in the water and spray area or arms/legs.
Do not spray into face. Reapply as often as you like.
Being conscious of not only your environment but those whom you share it with is critical in the warmer months when we tend to spend much more time outdoors. Always be sure to protect yourself from any harmful insects, animals, plants or other exposure to other factors such as the sun when enjoying your time in nature. An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure.
P.S. If you have any home grown tips & tricks on avoiding bug bites we’d love to hear from you on our new Facebook Page!