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D.E.E.T vs Natural Insect Repellent

Happy Friday my friends. We recently told you how you can make your own natural sunscreen. Today I will address another concern we all have in the summer months (which is basically all year here in South Florida). If you guessed mosquitoes and Zika, well then you are right. We have all seen the headlines about the dangers of Zika and for quite some time there has been some debate about the chemicals we put on our body to repel these flying pests.

DEET – DEET is one of the most effective insect repellents, and acts to ward off a wide variety of bugs. The Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) say that DEET is highly effective and safe when used according to the label. However, DEET has been controversial due to the fact that it is a chemical and may cause adverse reactions in some people – usually rashes. Heavy, long-term use may result in more severe reactions such as blisters, insomnia or mood problems. Some organizations and experts say that DEET needs to be studied more thoroughly. However, if you’re going to be in an area or doing an activity that puts you at high risk for tick or mosquito bites, DEET is a good choice. According to the CDC, concentrations of DEET over 50% do not confer added protection, and some experts suggest that you stick to concentrations of 30% or less. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no DEET for infants under two months old and a maximum concentration of 30% for other children. Products that are 30% DEET should provide about five hours of protection.

Now, if you want an alternative to DEET I have some that do very well. As with anything, please avoid getting any of the products in your eyes, clothing, furniture etc. And most important is that you apply these products to children yourself, for the above reasons. Always try a new product on a very small area to make sure you are not allergic to any of the compounds. If you are, try one of the others. Common sense is always a large factor in safety.

Picaridin is structurally related to compound found in peppers. It is thought to repel mosquitoes by interfering with their ability to detect their human targets. Picaridin is believed to be less irritating for the skin than DEET, but may also be less effective at repelling bugs. You can find repellents that contain 5-20% picaridin (20% could protect you for up to 8-10 hours).

Peppermint Oil.
Use an oil that can be ingested. This type of oil can be used for mouthwash and in tea. I find that a few drops mixed with water to be not only an effective mosquito repellent but it gives one a sense of refreshing coolness. Use about 5 drops for 6 ounces of water. you can dilute or strengthen as needed.

50 ml organic soybean oil
50 ml organic coconut oil
2 ml neem oil
2 ml lemon eucalyptus oil

Lemon Balm
Mosquitos don’t particularly enjoy the scent of lemon balm, an herb that you can grow right in your own backyard. Take a few leaves, crush them in your hand, and rub them into your skin to keep the insects away.

Sit Near a Fan
No, sitting near a fan won’t just blow the mosquitos away from you (although it might), but it will make you less appealing to them. Mosquitos are attracted to carbon dioxide and since fans help dissipate carbon dioxide, the insects will be less likely to land on you and take a bite.

I must give credit where it is due. Much of the information above was supplied by the website for the Dr Oz show. I strongly support remedies and products that are holistic and these are some very good ideas. I hope you find one (or a couple that work for you) and don’t forget to pass the information on to friends and family.

If you have any questions about health and wellness or to schedule an appointment for a FREE evaluation, pleae call my office at (561)272-7816.

Dr. Edward Scarlett
Cert. Ac. Dipl. Ac

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