A single bite from an infected mosquito can have serious health consequences (thanks Zika). So what’s your best defense as the summertime approaches? The best way to protect yourself and your family against mosquito-borne illness is to try and prevent mosquito bites in the first place. But don’t start reaching for bug spray just yet.
The large majority of bug sprays sold in stores contain DEET, an ingredient you may want to avoid. DEET, although still approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is a known eye irritant and may also cause rashes, soreness, or blistering when applied to your skin. DEET has also been linked to neurological problems and diffuse brain cell death.
So let’s protect your brain cells and your overall health! Here are FOUR ways to protect yourself from mosquitos this summer:
- Add vanilla extract to either of the above recipes, or just rub on the skin. You can also mix vanilla with witch hazel and water for a spray version.
- Plant insect repelling herbs in your yard such as lavender, thyme, mint and citronella. Try rubbing the leaves on your skin!
- Avoid alcohol. Consuming alcohol seems to make your blood more appealing to mosquitos…bummer.
- Try one of these natural DIY bug repellents:
Recipe 1: Coconut & Neem
- 80% coconut oil
- 20% neem oil
Warm both ingredients and stir together in a jar (note- they are solid at room temperature). Apply to skin, but be warned, neem oil has a strong scent, but it will fade away.
- Distilled Water
- Rubbing alcohol (or witch hazel)
- 2T each dried peppermint & lavender (try these other combinations: lemongrass & spearmint; citronella, catnip & spearmint)
Boil 1 cup of water and add your dried herbs. Whichever combination you prefer, or get crazy and use them all!
Mix your concoction well and be sure to cover it up to keep the oils in. Now strain your herbs and mix the water water with 1 cup of rubbing alcohol.
Store your new mosquito repellent in a spray bottle and store it away in the refrigerator.