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The season of picnics, bonfires, and camping are here and so is the season of insect bites. You can be the happiest person on earth inhaling the freshest air with the sun shining above you, but at the end of the day, you will see at least one bite of a tick or mosquito that are not only itchy but also carries dangerous diseases.
Among the long list of tick-borne and mosquito diseases are Malaria, Dengue fever, West Nile River virus, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis and Lyme disease. West Nile virus is one of the most common virus carried by mosquitos, that caused many deaths over the years.
Fortunately, there are some ways that can prevent you and your family from these life-threating diseases. Insect repellent is certainly a good way to kick off disease-carrying critters. If you're concerned about what ingredients go around in bug sprays, don’t worry, there are many repellents that are all natural and 100% pure. Grab one that suits your need and stay safe from the wannabe vampires!
But first of all, what is an Insect Repellant?
An Insect Repellant (IR) can be found in different consistency in the market, such as spray, gel or cream. When this spray or gel is applied to skin, clothing, or other surfaces, it discourages mosquito, bug, horsefly or any others insects to land on the skin.
This is because the insect repellent makes the air 1.5 inches above human skin toxic enough to insects that they are unable to land and bite. Current guidelines require insect repellant to provide at least a 50% repellency rate to make a valid claim that they repel mosquitoes. IR can be divided into two different types:
- Synthetic chemicals, such as DEET (N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide), IR3535 and picaridin.
- Plant-derived oils such as oil of citronella and oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Remember that, though DEET has proven its effectiveness at repelling mosquitoes, it is not really harmless to the other creatures that are exposed to it – (beware humans!). DEET is particularly considered toxic to the natural environment and children.
And that’s why the companies have started making the all-natural, eco-friendly insect repellents (thanks to science). These IR contain citronella oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, lemongrass oil, lavender oil or rosemary essential oil as active ingredients.
Though they are not as powerful as DEET, however, it’s up to you whether you want to be fully protected from insects by being exposed to synthetic DEET or getting the full goodness of oil with a questionable bug protection.
The correct way to apply Insect Repellent
It’s not like you have to have a degree in zoology to apply insect repellent, but there are a few important facts to keep in mind. For example, you just can’t spray on your arm and expect your whole body to repel mosquitoes.
Similarly, you just can’t walk through a whole mist of repellent and hope to repel insect the whole day. Here are some of my ideas that will help you to repel the mosquitoes all day long.
1. Buy a Good Quality Spray: Use a Slow Sweeping Motion when applying
Once you buy a superior quality bug repellent, read the instructions carefully to see if you need to shake the aerosol. If so, shake it first, and then hold it 15-20 cm away from bare skin and clothing.
Spray in a slow sweeping motion to and fro. No need to wait and let it “set”- insect repellent start to work immediately.
2. Get It Even: Use Hands to Evenly Distribute on Skin
Use just enough to cover the exposed skin and use your hands to evenly distribute it. Give some love to the ankles and behind the elbows as well.
Remember, a product with a higher percentage of the active ingredient doesn’t promise you stronger protection- they just last longer. Therefore, select a product that suits the amount of time you are planning to spend outdoors.
3. Face Fact: Take special caution while applying on Face
Control matters here. Spray on the palm of your hand first, then tap it on your the face and around the ears. Avoid mouth and eyes entirely.
4. Kids Fact: Apply it for them
It is always advised to keep any repellent out of children’s reach. Here, follow the same “Face Fact” method. Spray the palm of your hand first, and then pat the product on children.
5. On Clothing too!
Mosquitoes can bite through clothing made of thin fabric. Applying repellent to shirts, pants, socks, hats, cuffs, sleeve openings, and other openings in outer clothing help prevent mosquito bites and protect against ticks and chiggers. Don't forget to wash clothes properly before wearing it again.
- Apply Insect Repellent on cuts, wounds, irritated or sunburned skin.
- Spray DEET-based products near acetate, rayon, spandex, furniture, plastics, watch crystals, leather, painted or varnished surfaces, including automobiles as DEET has the tendency to react with them.
- Spray on under clothing.
Following these easy tricks would promise you a good time not only indoors but outdoors too. Love your skin a little more, buy an Insect Repellent.