Mosquitoes, ticks, and different bugs aren’t solely annoying, they will additionally threaten human well being. Way back to 2700 BC, a malaria-like illness was described in Chinese language medical literature, and once more in historical Greek and Indian Sanskrit writings, the place it was attributed to insect bites.
Extra just lately, the unfold of West Nile and zika viruses has turn into a brand new problem, elevating the query of whether or not or to not use chemical insect repellents that, though designated protected by authorities businesses, are poisonous substances. DEET, for instance, thought-about the gold normal for bug safety, can soften plastic.
What’s the most suitable choice? For some, chemical insect repellents are out of the query, maybe due to a nasty expertise with a product, particular person sensitivities, or just on precept. For the remainder of us, there is not one proper reply, however there are a number of totally different pure methods to attempt.
Make Your Surroundings Bug-Free
Should you work in a constructing with sealed home windows, and the screens in your doorways and home windows at house are in good restore, you possible will not have a problem with bugs buzzing round indoors. On essentially the most primary stage, that is your finest bug safety. When venturing outdoors, your best option relies upon upon the place you reside, and bug repellents aren’t the one weapon.
Do Citronella Candles Work?
Citronella candles, broadly promoted to maintain bugs at bay, have had blended ends in research. Nevertheless, one examine discovered that being close to a burning citronella candle lowered bites by 42 p.c. Maybe surprisingly, being close to a daily burning candle additionally lowered bites (by 23 p.c). This can be as a result of mosquitoes are attracted by the carbon dioxide we exhale after we breathe, and the identical fuel emanating from a burning candle distracts them.
What Kind of Clothes Is Finest for Stopping Bug Bites?
Should you’re into mountaineering or tenting, or simply stay in an space that is rife with mosquitoes and ticks, the fitting clothes can defend you in additional methods than one. Unfastened clothes, with lengthy sleeves and pants tucked into socks, creates a bodily barrier in opposition to bugs, however coloration additionally makes a distinction. Should you put on light-colored clothes, mosquitoes that chew in the course of the day will not see you as nicely from a distance. As soon as they’re nearer, they depend on scent, particularly sweat and micro organism on pores and skin. In truth, individuals who sweat little or no are much less prone to get bitten.
Gentle-colored clothes has one other benefit: It makes ticks simpler to seek out, so as to take away them earlier than they transmit infectious micro organism. After a tick attaches to pores and skin, it takes 36-48 hours for it to transmit Lyme illness bacterium, so it is important to seek out and detach them as rapidly as potential (see “Find out how to Take away a Tick,” under).
Important Oil-Based mostly Bug Repellents (DEET-Free)
Analysis reveals that pure insect repellents made with important oils do work, however for shorter durations of time than chemical substances. And never all of them are equally efficient in opposition to all varieties of bugs and ticks. Plant oils which have repellent qualities embody citronella, cedar, verbena, pennyroyal, geranium, lavender, pine, cajeput, cinnamon, rosemary, basil, thyme, allspice, garlic, and peppermint.
Neem, though not legally thought-about an insect repellent in america, has an extended historical past of avoiding bugs, each as a tree in its pure environment and as an oil utilized to the pores and skin. And a patented soybean oil mixed with different plant oils (present in Quantum Well being’s Buzz Away Excessive) has been proven in research to be as efficient in opposition to a number of varieties of mosquitoes as a chemical formulation with roughly 7 p.c DEET.
Find out how to Take away a Tick
If a tick attaches to your pores and skin, do not squish it or attempt to pull it off together with your fingers. Use tweezers with a high-quality tip to know it near the pores and skin and draw back gently, with out twisting. Flush it down the bathroom, and completely clear the affected space and your palms with alcohol or cleaning soap and water.
I’ve Been Bitten—Now What?
Pure treatments aren’t substitutes for medication if in case you have an allergy, however they will present reduction:
Sprays, gels, lotions, and ointments: Elements could embody aloe, calendula, tea tree oil, oil of camphor, calamine, or menthol.
Homeopathy: Search for merchandise that deal with your particular signs. For instance, these relieve swelling and itching with different traits: Apis mellifica for burning pores and skin relieved by chilly; Ledum palustre for contemporary mosquito bites; Urtica urens for crimson blotches and hives.
Earlier than You Purchase Pure Bug Repellents
Not all merchandise are designed to repel all varieties of bugs, and strengths fluctuate. Examine producers’ web sites or product labels to seek out out if a particular product targets mosquitoes, ticks, and/or different bugs which can be an issue in your space.
Zika, West Nile, chikungunya, and dengue viruses, for instance, usually tend to be unfold by a kind of mosquito known as Aedes aegypti. Some pure insect repellents, similar to Buzz Away, particularly state that they repel this specific mosquito, which tends to chew in the course of the day and is especially prevalent in tropical and subtropical climates, but in addition exists in additional temperate areas.
The place there’s a excessive threat of being bitten by a mosquito contaminated with zika or different virus, the CDC recommends utilizing a repellent with one in all these substances: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or PMD, quick for para-menthane-diol, which can be derived from eucalyptus vegetation or synthetically formulated. To maintain toxins to a minimal, use solely as a lot as wanted, and less.
For CDC details about zika, different bug-borne viruses, and high-risk areas in america and world wide, go to cdc.gov/zika.
Examine the Label
Like sunscreen, insect repellents should be reapplied periodically to be efficient. Comply with product instructions to make sure that you are getting most safety.