How to Prevent Mosquito Bites

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June 07, 2003 | 206,355 views

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:

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:

Janet Starr Hull's Healthy Newsletter May 2003


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    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