According to the Detroit Free Press, 2019 has had one of the wettest springs on record here in Michigan! And we all know, with more rain comes more mosquitoes. Currently, MI is predicted to have an above average mosquito season thanks to the wetter than normal conditions. With cookout season upon us, these menacing mosquitoes will be waiting to feast on us in droves. Protecting yourself from mosquito bites is imperative since they can carry diseases that cause severe symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and even death.
The best way to combat mosquito bites is through prevention with insect repellents. Most repellents contain DEET which is effective in protecting against mosquito bites—but is it safe to use? Recently, skepticism about DEET has come from reports of seizures in adolescents and adverse skin irritations. Consumers have also shared fears of concerns that DEET may cause cancer.
Wanna ditch the chemicals? Here are 4 ways to go au-natural and still repel mosquitoes!
- Tea tree oil: Also known as melaleuca oil, has been effective at preventing mosquito bites for centuries. Tea tree oil is a miracle oil. It has antimicrobial, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Not only is this gem oil healing, but insects and other pests hate it! Here is an easy recipe to try it—get a 3 oz spray bottle, fill it with 1 tablespoon of a carrier oil like witch hazel or sunflower oil, 30 drops of tea tree oil essential oil and top it off with distilled water. Shake and now you are ready to spray!
- Lemon eucalyptus oil—In a 2014 study, lemon eucalyptus oil provided at least 95% of protection from mosquitoes for up to 3 hours after application. You can create your own mixture by adding 1-part lemon eucalyptus oil to 10-parts sunflower oil or witch hazel—but be careful using this mixture on children under 3.
- Avon’s Skin So Soft –Growing up in The South, my grandmother would spray me down with Avon Skin So Soft before I played outside in the summer. This product pulls double duty of softening skin and repelling insects, and to top it off, it smells great! It is important to note that Avon does not make any claims that Skin So Soft is a bug repellent, but it has been effective at repelling 2 different species of mosquitoes.
- Citronella—Good, old-fashioned citronella is another good option that can provide up to 50 percent extra protection with the correct formula. Topical use of 100% citronella can provide complete protection against mosquitoes for up to 120 minutes. Citronella oil evaporates quickly, so it may need to be replied often and can cause skin irritation.
It is important to note that there are several varieties of mosquitoes and some repellents are effective against some types and not others. Whether you are attending a bonfire, cooking out or just enjoying the stars, protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites with any of the previous repellent recommendations or try a combination of a few different ones.
Road trip coming up? Try this health-ish energy bar for the road. Perfect for snacking or a quick breakfast.
The Ulliance Life Advisor EAP provides clients with helpful resources on ways to enrich children's lives, referrals and even counseling (and a plethora of other topics). And as always, if you are a client of Ulliance, the Life Advisor EAP services are free and confidential.