Yesterday was Memorial Day. I hope you had a great time with family and friends and took some time to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. We are eternally grateful. Memorial Day isn’t just a great time to remember, it’s also the unofficial start to summer. And with summer comes the annual invasion of mosquitos.
This year’s invasion is a little more concerning because of the threat of the Zika virus coming to the U.S. While most people don’t have to worry too much about Zika, those who are pregnant or have compromised immune systems do have more concerns. So how can you spend time outside with worrying about mosquito bites?
Most people will use a standard insect spray. The trouble is most of these contain DEET. While DEET is an effective way to deter mosquitos, it does have issues. One study found that 25% of the people who use DEET will experience skin irritation, rashes, numb or burning lips, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and even difficulty concentrating. So it would be great if there were a way to avoid mosquitos and avoid the negative side effects of DEET.
Those in the alternative medicine world have long known that certain essential oils repel mosquitos quite well. But the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now admit that one essential oil in particular can work as well as DEET. The CDC website now suggests that CDC that some oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE or para-menthane-diol) products provide longer-lasting protection than DEET.
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Of course, the CDC still recommends DEET. But it says, “When outdoors, use repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, some oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol. Follow the directions on the package.”
I agree. You can buy DEET-free repellants at many stores and online. But you can do even better. You can make your own mosquito repellant that works better than the store brands. The store brands use refined oils. These are effective, but the pure oils, while not tested, are known to work even better. I’ve been a little frustrated that the store brands don’t seem to work as the pure oils.
All you have to do to make your own mosquito repellant is use a little oil of lemon eucalyptus with other types of oil you like. Mix and match to get the combination that you like and works best for you. Mix 30-40 drops of the oils with five ounces of distilled water and four ounces of witch hazel. Put the ingredients in a 10-ounce spray bottle, shake well, and spray on your skin.
I’d love to hear what combinations work best for you. And let me know if you do anything different. Have a great summer without mosquito bites or Zika!
Your insider for better health,