If your children are anything like ours, by this time of year they have itched, picked and re-picked early season mosquito bites.
It doesn’t seem to matter how diligent you are with the after-bite, band-aids or good advice “Don’t pick that it will leave a scar “and “Please quit picking that, you’re bleeding all over the new rug.” They’ll do it anyway (we did too).
An ounce of prevention continues to be worth a pound of cure. So if you and the kiddies will be enjoying the great outdoors this summer we’ve assembled a few tips to help manage the pests.
Long sleeves – a winning alternative to chemical sprays & coils
According to Health Canada’s insect repellent summary “Your best protection is to prevent bug bites in the first place. Cover exposed skin with clothing as much as possible or use insect repellents that have been approved by Health Canada.”
Given the low risks of contracting any serious illness (but read about West Nile virus here) from mosquito bites, long sleeve shirts seem a more sensible choice than coating your family with the approved but controversial chemical DEET, or as it may read on product labels N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide. Same goes for the big brand coils, candles and clothing attachments. Our noses know – common sense suggests anything that makes us all squeeze our eyes shut and hold our breath is not good.
There are a range of more natural alternatives from wristbands scented with citronella to taking vitamin B1 a month or two in advance of bug season (practices that are not approved by Health Canada, but we say check with your family doctor or Naturopath).
In store we carry Bug-out, Buzz off, Summer Mist, Natural 2 in 1 Outdoor Spray, Outdoor Eazzz, Druide Citronella Insect Repellent Spray Lotion and a homeopathic remedy that was showcased on Dragon’s Den, Mozi-Q. Even with plant-based products there can be contraindications and allergic reactions, so please do confirm the individual suitability of select repellents with your healthcare provider.
Pinterest has plenty of homemade recipes; many include a combination of natural witch hazel and distilled water with essential oils like citronella, lemongrass, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, tea tree, and clove.
Diluted, essential oils should be just fine for use, in a concentrated form some can cause irritation. Take the case of one of our very own who applied lemongrass to her entire body prior to a golf game only to find herself back in the shower scrubbing it off as her skin became immediately inflamed. Lesson learned, her tried and true solution is to combine a clean body lotion (free of synthetic preservatives, colors, and carcinogens) with a few drops of essential oil to repel the pests.
Here’s hoping you and yours walk away from this mosquito season relatively unscathed, good luck!