Choosing a safer alternative to synthetic chemical-based insect repellents is not only healthier it’s literally essential to life, and essential oils can make it happen.
The vast majority of the DEET-based repellents that you see have a DEET concentration of between 5 percent and 15 or 20 percent. There are some products that go up to 35 percent concentration. And then, there are a few 100 percent DEET repellents still sold. When people go to buy chemical DEET based insect repellents, one of the biggest problems is the natural tendency to buy the highest concentration.
Research has suggested DEET could be harmful to the central nervous system.
Pharmacologist Mohamed B. Abou-Donia found frequent and prolonged use of DEET, the most often recommended and most common mosquito repellent ingredient, caused brain cell death and behavioral changes in rats.
Children are especially vulnerable to subtle brain changes caused by chemicals in the environment. That’s because their skin more readily absorbs such chemicals, which have more of an impact on a child’s developing nervous system.
When DEET and sunscreen agents are combined, there’s a marked increase in the rate of absorption through the skin. University of Manitoba pharmaceutical researcher Dr. Xiaochen Gu says this could mean the side effects of the chemicals may be heightened when they’re used together.
DEET has been shown to have a negative impact on wildlife and water sources in production and during use. DEET is toxic to birds and aquatic life. It has been found in approximately 75 percent of U.S. water sources, including the Mississippi River.
Essential Oils – Natural Alternatives
Natural recipes recipe take just seconds to mix up and can be varied based on what you have available.
Essential oils have many therapeutic properties that are well known for their ability to keep a person sting-free. As a general rule, they are best used two ways:
1) Airborne Methods: Lemongrass or Citronella or Cinnamon oil are recommended to keep insects at bay by airborne methods including paper strips at the windows, dribbled on light bulbs, or placed in diffusers.
2) Applied to the body: For direct application to skin and clothing, use Lavender oil to discourage insects from landing on your body. Lavender and Peppermint also help to reduce insect bite-induced itching and infection. Carry these oils with you at all times during the summer months especially while travelling or even for your jogging or walks outdoors.
Make Your Own Effective Insect Deterrent — Combine the following ingredients in a small glass bottle filled with water: a teaspoon of olive oil, plus 4 drops Thyme oil, 8 drops Lemongrass oil, 4 drops Lavender oil, 4 drops Peppermint oil. Dab the oil combo directly on neck and legs, or add to spray bottle and spray on.
Ankles are a prime target for mosquitoes. Cover the ankles with cotton socks and add a drop of Lavender to the tops of the socks. Also put drops of essential oils on bottom of pant legs.
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