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How to Prevent Mosquito Bites

June 07, 2003 | 114,636 views
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Mosquitoes are not only a nuisance--their bites can cause serious complications including the transmission of diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis, and West Nile virus (WN) to humans and animals.

Mosquitoes belong to the Diptera order, otherwise known as the True Flies. There are over 2,500 different species of mosquitoes throughout the world with about 200 species in the United States. There are 77 species in Florida alone, and a new species, Anopheles grabhamii, was reported in the Florida Keys in 2001.

While there are many ways to deter mosquitoes from biting you, some are more toxic than others. The following suggestions give you easy ways to repel these pests:

  • Use Bounce Fabric Softener Sheets--just wipe on and go. This is great for babies.

  • Supplement with one vitamin B-1 tablet a day from April through October. Add 100 mg of B-1 to a B-100 Complex daily during the mosquito season.

  • Don't eat bananas during mosquito season--mosquitoes love bananas! There is something about how your body processes the banana oil that attracts these female sugar-loving insects.

  • One of the best natural insect repellents is Vick's Vaporub®.

  • Planting marigolds around your yard works great as a bug repellent because the flowers give off a fragrance bugs do not like. This is a great way to ward off mosquitoes without using chemical insecticides.

  • Campers agree that the very best mosquito repellant is Avon Skin-So-Soft® bath oil mixed half and half with rubbing alcohol.

  • One of the best natural insect repellants we use in Texas is made from the clear liquid vanilla that is sold in Mexico. It is reported to work great for mosquitoes and ticks, and spreading a little vanilla mixed with olive oil on your skin smells great.

  • Commercial mosquito dunks will kill mosquito larvae before they become mosquitoes. There are fairly environmentally sound biological mosquito controls containing no toxic chemicals. Each dunk affectively treats up to 100 square feet of surface water regardless of depth for about 30 days. Dunks may be broken into smaller pieces to treat small areas. Unused and dried out dunks retain their potency indefinitely, so you can store extras for the long summer season. Put them in fountains, ponds, rain gutters, flowerpot trays, and anywhere water may pool.

  • Citronella soap is a product that started in the Bahamas and Belize. The soaps are made with olive oil for moisture and great lather, Aloe Vera to soothe the skin, and citronella oil to repel mosquitoes. For high intensity protection you can burn citronella incense. Mosquitoes avoid citronella and they hate the smoke.

  • Citronella essential oil (Java Citronella) is considered to be the highest quality citronella on the market. The best quality is steam distilled from the grass giving it a fresh, sweet woody aroma. It blends well with geranium, cedar wood and other citrus oils. It is 100 percent pure essential oil--no additives, no dilutants, no adulteration, just safe mosquito repellent.

  • Electronic repellents utilize one to two sound frequencies to simulate dragonflies and other male mosquitoes, creating a competitive environment for the blood-sucking female. These devices come with Velcro bands for wearing on your wrist or ankle, or on your pocket or belt. This makes for a versatile, compact unit that you can take anywhere for protection. Some units even have a built-in red flashlight for nighttime use.

  • When all else fails--get a frog!

Most commercial insect repellants contain a chemical known as DEET and should be used with caution, if at all. Many studies have found DEET to have harmful effects. One study found that DEET causes diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes in rats, and researchers suggest that humans may experience memory loss, headache, weakness, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, tremors and shortness of breath with heavy exposure to DEET and other insecticides.

Further, in combination with other chemicals or medications the chemicals could cause brain deficits in vulnerable populations. Children are particularly at risk for subtle brain changes because their skin more readily absorbs chemicals in the environment and chemicals more potently affect their developing nervous systems.

In the event that you choose to use DEET, although I strongly recommend against it, do not use the products on infants and be very wary of using them on children at all (at least make sure products for children contain 15 percent or less DEET). The following precautions were issued by The New York State Department of Health for repellents containing DEET:

  • Store bottle out of the reach of children and read all instructions on label before applying.

  • Do not let children apply DEET themselves because they may put them in their mouths or touch their eyes.

  • Avoid prolonged and excessive use of DEET. Use sparingly to cover exposed skin; do not treat unexposed skin.

  • Do not apply repellents in enclosed areas. This is especially important when using sprays or aerosols.

  • Do not apply directly on face.

  • DEET can be applied to clothing, but may damage some synthetic fabrics and plastics.

  • Wash treated skin and clothing after returning indoors.

  • If you believe you are having an adverse reaction to a repellent containing DEET, wash the treated area immediately and call your physician.

Janet Starr Hull's Healthy Newsletter May 2003

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

 

Outdoor Gel: Safe for the Whole Family -- and Good for Your Skin

 

Neem-based Botanical Outdoor Gel is my #1 choice to protect your skin from pesky insects, safely and effectively.

  • Free from irritating toxic chemicals.

     

     

  • Safe and gentle enough for children, infants and those with the most sensitive skin.
  • Learn more about Botanical Outdoor Gel now!

    Many thanks to Hull for these natural options to deadly insect repellants that contain DEET.

    I would add one additional suggestion to the above list, and that is Botanical Outdoor Gel from Neem Tree Farms. This gel is made from skin-soothing ingredients like aloe vera and cold-pressed neem oil, which work as anti-inflammatory agents to calm irritated skin from previous bites.

    Meanwhile, it will safeguard your skin against insects using an organic blend of neem oil, citronella and geraniol.

     

    Related Articles:

    What to Use for Insect Repellant -- Hint: It's not DEET


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