No one likes getting bitten by mosquitoes. They’re a nuisance and their bites can be itchy and extremely irritating–enough to ruin any outdoor barbecue or picnic. There’s also the risk of the West Nile Virus that has sprung up all over the country in recent years (those most at risk are the elderly, young children or people with compromised immune systems).
However, the most serious danger by far has nothing to do with the West Nile Virus but instead is posed by the pesticides we use to keep the mosquitoes away. And while you likely don’t have much control over the community-wide fogging geared at reducing mosquitoes (other than running indoors and making sure all your windows are tightly shut), you do have control over the pesticides you use personally.
Most insect repellants out there are loaded with toxic chemicals, including the pesticide DEET, which is so poisonous that even the Environmental Protection Agency says you should wash it off your skin when you return indoors, avoid breathing it in and not spray it directly on your face. Think about it–if this chemical can kill mosquitoes, it can likely do some harm to other life forms too.
The good news is that there are natural alternatives out there that can keep mosquitoes away while keeping you safe. One is neem-based Outdoor Botanical Gel. It’s made from an organic blend of neem leaf extract, aloe vera base (to soothe bites you already have!), neem oil, citronella and geraniol so it’s actually good for your skin–and, unlike DEET, it’s safe for the whole family–even infants and children. You may also be able to find other varieties in health food stores, but be sure to read the label to be sure they’re truly chemical-free.
You can find out more by a simple web search under “neem”. Other natural repellants include Cinnamon oil which is inexpensive and even smells great. Other common essential oils, such as catnip, have shown similar promise in fighting off mosquitoes as well.
Other tips to keep mosquitoes away while still enjoying the outdoors this summer include:
- Staying indoors from dusk to dawn, the peak mosquito biting hours.
- Wearing long sleeves, pants and socks when possible.