Reading the back label of mainstream mosquito repellents on store shelves, we can see that they contain a bunch of synthetic compounds. According to many scientists, these are not entirely harmless to our health, especially for children. Mosquito repellents containing diethyl toluamide (DEET) are very effective but what do we really know about the potent chemical?
What is DEET?
DEET interferes with neurons and receptors located on the mosquito’s antennae and mouth-parts that detect chemicals such as lactic acid and carbon dioxide. This is how it combats mosquitos. But some researchers have found that it also has negative health effects on humans causing rashes, skin irritation, numb or burning lips, nausea, headaches, dizziness and difficulty concentrating.
Duke University pharmacologist Mohamed Abou-Donia, in studies on rats, found that frequent and prolonged DEET exposure led to diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes, and concluded that humans should stay away from products containing it.
DEET is well absorbed through the skin and via the digestive tract, when you accidentally happen to swallow it. There are also opinions that mosquito repellents are just as dangerous to children and pets as for mosquitoes!
What to do?
Mosquitoes are attracted by certain odors such as sweat, fruit and floral scents (like your shampoo and lotion containing synthetic fragrance). The annoying bugs are more active in the evening and in humid environments such as forest, lakeside, seaside.
Best natural way to deter mosquitoes is to use a strong enough scent to mask the odor of human body. Luckily a number of new concentrations of botanical repellents have hit the market. The oldest and most well known repellent is lemongrass. Lemongrass is a natural substance that helps to keep mosquitoes and other annoying insects at bay. Some other good choices, according to the nonprofit National Coalition against the Misuse of Pesticides, include products containing geraniol, citronella , herbal extracts or essential oils. The group also gives high marks to oil of lemon eucalyptus.
The only con is that natural products must be applied more frequently. The pros, however are surprisingly positive – in addition to repelling bugs, inhalation of essential oils has well known aromatherapeutic effects! VACA CARE BUG OFF mosquito repellent contains essential oils of lemongrass, lemon, may chang and eucalyptus which are stimulating and refreshing to tired senses.
Keep in mind that natural does not always mean safe. Some people can be sensitive to certain essential oils. It is better to discontinue the use immediately if there is any allergic reactions. Carefully read the label and always keep essential oils and products made of them out of the reach of children and pets!