Avoid bug bites
Black flies and mosquitoes and fear of tick bites can quickly drive you indoors.
The theoretical risks associated with wearing an insect repellent should be weighed against the reduction or prevention of the risk of fatal or debilitating diseases including malaria, West Nile, Zika, Dengue/Yellow fever, Lyme and filariasis.
Best way if you have to go out doors is to wear loose fitting, light coloured, full length pant and sleeve with tall socks or pants tucked in. Nets are available for over the head and face.
Dangers of DEET
If you are in the deep woods and are at risk for disease, you may consider the very strong (and poisonous) option of DEET, but be sure to avoid the face, eyes and mouth and wash your hands afterward in order to additionally help avoid contact with nose, eyes and mouth. After you return indoors you are best to wash completely with soap and water. Know that the long term exposure to DEET can lead to memory loss, headaches, weakness, fatigue, muscle/joint pain, nausea, tremors, and shortness of breath. This is because DEET is actually a pesticide and your skin will absorb it.
What are some alternatives to DEET?
Mozi-Q I have seen this in health food stores around Guelph. http://www.mozi-q.com
Picardin: Structurally based on chemicals in pepper, it appears to interfere with the mosquito’s ability to smell its prey. The chemical is extremely effective for some species of mosquito (including important disease-carrying mosquitoes such as A. aegypti), but is less effective for other species that don’t appear to rely on smell, so overall it may be somewhat less effective than DEET. A 20% Picaridin formulation has been shown to repel mosquitoes for 8-10 hour.
Vitamin B1 – Thiamine – Take a dose of B1 daily and mosquitoes avoid you when you smell like a vitamin!
Natural insect repellent recipe:
Combine in a 16oz spray bottle:
15 drops of lavender, clove, thyme, or geranium oil
10 drops of lemon eucalyptus or citronella oil
4 Tbsp of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of lemon juice
Fill with water and shake. Apply & re-apply as needed.
KEEP ESSENTIAL OILS OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN
Mix Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) with water to form a paste and apply to bee stings, poison ivy rash and insect bites.
Oatmeal: crush up oats and make a colloidal oatmeal paste with a little water and apply to itchy rashes or insect bites.
Calamine lotion: you can buy it at the store or make your own with recipes from http://everydayroots.com/homemade-calamine-lotion
Apis Homeopathic 30 C 2 pellets under tongue every 15-30 min until relief, up to 3 hours. Then as needed 2 pellets /3x per day up to 3 days. Indicated in conditions hot, red, inflamed, swollen, itchy insect bites & bee stings.
Always do a check for ticks on your skin after trail walks and hikes in long grasses. Carefully remove from the skin at the tick’s head and mouth area using a pair of tweezers. Save the tick for testing. Wash the area with mild soap and water. Ticks have the potential to carry Lyme, Rocky mountain spotted fever, Tularemia, Ehrichiosis, Relapsing fever, Colorado tick fever and Babesiosis.
In any case of bug or tick bite followed within a few days of feelings of flu like symptoms, fever, headache, nausea, vomit or fatigue, see your health care provider immediately as you may need a course of antibiotics to prevent long term sequelae of insect borne diseases.
Information in this post does not constitute individual medical advice. Readers apply this information at their own risk. Please seek care from your health care provider for professional and individual advice.
Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.