Are Insect Bites getting you down? It’s summertime and the living is easy….. going to the beach, barbecues, picnics, alfresco dining… and MOZZIES! While we are all too familiar in Australia with biting insects and the irritation of their stings, a more critical concern is the migration of mosquitoes into our country and the potential for the serious diseases they carry, such as Ross River Fever, Malaria, Dengue Fever and Encephalitis.
Chemical Insect Repellents are Harmful!However, traditionally, our approach has been to fight one danger – the insects – with another. The ingredients in our insect repellents, over extended use, can be just as harmful to our health as the diseases they carry. Many of the insect repellents we have used over the years contain one common ingredient, DEET. DEET is the abbreviated name for N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, a slightly yellow oil, which provides protection against tick bites, mosquito bites, and other insects that can transmit disease. While DEET is widely used as an insect repellent, studies have found that dermal application in humans of insect repellents containing DEET can produce a variety of skin reactions, including localized skin irritations, large painful blisters and/or permanent scarring of the skin. The bottom line is that DEET is a synthetic substance with possible side effects – it’s poisonous to insects, so what is it doing to us?
Insect Bites - the natural repellentDon’t let insect bites take the fun out of summer! Protect yourself and your family safely and naturally without having to reach for harmful products containing such chemicals as DEET. It is reassuring to know that you can protect your family naturally and safely, without using DEET-based products.
If you plan to spend summer in the outdoors, protect yourself from insect bites by following a few simple steps:
- The first thing is do is to cover up. If you plan to be in areas where there are likely to be a high number of insects, wearing lightweight and light-coloured clothing can be a deterrent against insect bites. Ensure the kids wear long sleeves and pants in a lightweight fabric.
- If camping, ensure you wear socks to protect your feet from crawling insects such as ants.
- Avoid going barefoot, even on sand in some cases, where sandflies and other insects can breed
- Avoid outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most active, which is around dawn and dusk, when the air is calm. Mosquitoes prefer a warm, moist environment.
- If you have spent time outdoors in a rural area, check yourself and your kids for ticks and promptly remove them
- Use natural insect repellents that do not contain DEET to avoid the potential for skin irritations. Spray your clothing as well as your body
- Use mosquito netting to cover infants in their prams or cots
- If your accommodation is not screened or air-conditioned, spray a natural insect repellent around the door and window areas to discourage their entrance