For most people, summertime means getting outdoors, getting active, and soaking up some Vitamin D. With that come mosquitoes. Research shows that one in five people possesses higher attraction to mosquitoes than the average person. For that person, and for the rest of us who simply don't like those red, itchy bumps all summer, here are some facts about mosquitoes, commercial insect repellents, and how to protect yourself naturally, free from any harsh chemicals and free from that gross chemical smell.
When it comes to mosquitos themselves, they're pesky little blighters. They can scent a potential target from fifty yards away, due to certain chemical compounds found on human skin. These include but are not limited to:
- healthy bacteriacarbon dioxide (from exhalation)
- octenal (a substance found in breath and sweat)
- old (not fresh, contrary to popular belief) sweat
- eating bananas (for whatever reason, mosquitoes love these! Avoid them during the summer to lower your risk of bites)
Basically, any summer activity can potentially attract mosquitoes. This is especially true in larger adults. The greater the body mass, the higher the amount of carbon dioxide a person emits in their breath. Thus a tall, muscular athlete exercising outdoors is prone to greater breakouts than someone simply lying out in the sun.
This can potentially be problematic.
Throughout history, mosquitos have developed a bad rep for being carriers of several serious illnesses, including:
- West Nile Fever
- Yellow Fever
- and dengue.
So, what can you do to ward them off?
The commercial solution is DEET, a chemical found in most insect repellants that is also used to dissolve plastic, spandex, rayon, painted or varnished surfaces. Most people apply it innocently to their and their children's skin, unaware that it can cause:
- nausea and/or vomiting
- skin irritations
- high blood pressure
- muscle weakness
- joint or muscle pain
- memory loss
- hives or blisters
- watery, irritated eyes
- stilted brain function
- and seizures.
Thankfully, there are ways to avoid those side effects and DEET altogether. Below are several natural ways to lower your appeal to mosquitos, and hopefully, avoid them altogether.
- B-Complex vitamins. Supplementing with the entire B complex vitamins (namely, NeoLife's Super B or Nature's Sunshine's B-Complex) makes a person's natural scent foul to mosquitoes, who then happily avoid the source.
- Garlic. Taken internally through supplementation, garlic has the same effect on mosquitoes as B vitamins. Mosquitoes hate garlic, and taking it internally on a regular basis is a lot easier and safer than spraying or slathering on a toxic chemical.
- Cinnamon essential oil. Research is still being done on the topic, but cinnamon oil has been found, in one study, to be more effective in repelling insects than DEET! It is also, of course, safe, delicious, and smells wonderful.
- Neem leaf or oil. As a leaf, neem can be burned to create an unpleasant atmosphere for mosquitoes and other insects. As an oil, if combined with coconut oil, it can be rubbed into the skin for a smiliar effect. Neem can be used by itself, but has a higher chance of repelling more insects when paired with coconut oil. Neem doesn't have the best aroma, but it's much safer and gentler than DEET.
- Essential oils. Besides cinnamon oil, other oils that can be used for repelling mosquitoes and other insects are; catnip, vanilla extract mixed with olive oil, lemon in combination with eucalyptus oil, peppermint, lemongrass, and citronella.
Wearing loose or light-colored clothing can also help protect against mosquitoes. Planting marigolds or building bat houses near affected areas is also purported to keep them at bay.
The methods are many. Avoiding mosquitos is easier than most think. Summer doesn't have to be red, blotchy and itchy!
If you are bitten, however, there are a number of herbs you can use to soothe your bites:
- aloe vera
- lavender oil
- raw, local honey
- Tea tree oil
- Lemon or lime oils
- Tea bags
- Apple cider vinegar
- baking soda
Before you go outside this summer, slather on some oils or swallow some B-Vitamins and garlic supplements. We carry a high quality B-Complex vitamin, as well as the best Garlic supplement you can find, as well as Neem supplements, coconut oil, Aloe Vera, and several other essential oils.
Contact us by phone at (423) 899-8422 or reach us by email at naturesfinestnutrition (at) gmail.com to order or find out more on this or other topics. You can also check us out on our website or Facebook! We're always happy to help!
Please note: We do not directly or indirectly give medical advice or prescribe through alternative treatment. We recommend that people contact their doctor if they need a medical diagnosis. We assume no responsibility if anyone decides to use this information, which is of historical value, for they are choosing to prescribe for themselves. Healing is sometimes a slow process, and we suggest that you do not stop taking any medications without the guidance of a doctor.
Dr. Joseph Mercola. "What Attracts Mosquitoes and How to Repel Them." Published 23 August, 2014.
"http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/23/mosquito-repellent.aspx". Accessed 13 April, 2015.
Anonymous. "Neem Natural Mosquito Repellant". No date.
"http://www.discoverneem.com/natural-mosquito-repellent.html". Accessed 13 April, 2015.