Ward off mosquitoes with natural repellents

DEET, also known as diethyl-meta-toluamide is the main ingredient in commercial mosquito repellents and has frighteningly shown that it causes more than a strong scent.

Studies show that DEET can:

  • damage brain cells
  • cause changes in behaviour
  • have dangerous interactions with certain medications

Scientists have observed that the ingredient caused death of brain cells in animals frequently exposed to or after prolonged use of DEET. One can only imagine what this would do to humans using it for everyday household use.

Further research discovered that up to 15 percent of the chemical is absorbed directly through the skin and into the bloodstream. According to safety data sheets on diethyl-meta-toluaminde, the toxic effects of this chemical include: reproductive disturbances, genetic material mutations and central nervous system disorders.

 

There is good news after all: There’s no need to suffer long-term and serious health consequences in an attempt to ward off pesky mosquitoes, when the natural options below work not only as effectively, but better.

Check out these 8 natural options to ward off the unwanted pests:

1. Catnip

Not only does this plant drive cats wild but also will make those mosquitoes retreat in terror. Research at Iowa State University found that the essential oil found in the herb catnip is about 10 times more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes.

2. Citronella

Use only pure essential oil of citronella, not the ‘fragrance oil’. Oils purchased in bulk for burning are not adequate for applying topically to your skin. For your skin it is best to get a high quality citronella essential oil from a natural food store.

Read also: What to do when stung by a bluebottle

3. Garlic

Eat lots of fresh garlic or take it in capsule form, you won’t have to be bothered by mosquitoes or vampires.

4. Lavender

Not only does lavender essential oil smell great, but its also commonly used as an effective mosquito repellent. It’s best diluted in a carrier oil like apricot kernel, sweet almond or coconut oil.

5. Neem oil or neem seed oil

According to studies, neem oil is more effective than DEET. The results were confirmed by scientists at the Malaria Institute in India and in research cited in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. Neem is a plant that grows in India.

6. Organic soy oil

Research has found that repellents made of soybean oil are just as effective as DEET-containing repellents. Soy oil is inexpensive and easy to find, making it an excellent choice. Plus, it is an excellent body moisturiser. Choose organic soy oil if possible since many soy crops are now genetically-modified.

7. Lotus

New research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine shows that lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is an effective mosquito repellent and also helps kill mosquito larvae. Since the plant grows in water, its a great option as a natural repellent in backyard ponds and water features rather than something that is applied topically.

8. Black pepper

New research shows that an extract (the study used an alcohol extract but black pepper essential oil would probably work too) of black pepper is effective in repelling mosquitoes.

Read the original article and more here

Mosquito GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

Follow these tips too:

  • Wear the right clothes: Start shielding your skin by wearing long sleeves, longer pants and closed shoes.
  • Cover your carriers: Don’t only use your mosquito net when you sleep. The mesh is recommended for covering strollers, baby carriers and cribs too.
  • Protect your home: Add screens to doors and windows.
  • Eliminate stagnant water: Flip over or cover buckets, bird baths, planters, toys and other containers.

 

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(Comments posted on this issue may be used for publication in the Sun)

  AUTHOR
Holly Konig
Journalist

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