Getting rid of biting and flying pests is a task most people in warmer climates have to deal with on a daily bases. As you know many pests carry diseases that debilitate or may even kill humans and the thought of getting bit strikes fear in many people. Let’s face it, mosquitoes are all around us and the fact that they tend to share our living environments with them only makes things worse. The most invasive of all pests are mosquitoes. The female mosquitoes need blood to nourish their eggs. They suck blood from animals and humans and in doing so; they leave viruses that plague their hosts. The most recently feared virus is the Zika virus.
Zika Up Close
You may already know about the Zika virus. It is a virus transmitted by the Aedes vector mosquito. It may seem like a mild virus because its symptoms are not that aggressive. Some people do not even manifest symptoms. Neurological defects in infants are the most concerning of all about Zika. That is why you should learn how to protect yourself from becoming infected.
Latest Development about Zika
The Zika virus is now treated as a very dangerous virus. That is why a Zika vaccine is now being tested in volunteer individuals. According to the researchers, there is hope to have results by the end of this year. The first batch of volunteers has already been injected by the prototype vaccine. This is part of the initial study brought about by the (NIAID) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. There are eighty people, aged eighteen to thirty-five in the United States, who will be receiving the trial vaccine.
This study’s goal is to find out is the vaccine is safe or not. The vaccine is called the NIAID Zika virus investigational DNA vaccine. If the vaccine is proven to bring about a good immune system response to fight Zika and safe at the same time, then a larger study will be started. Phase 2 will start in the early months of 2017 in Zika affected countries. This was announced by the director of NIAID—Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Dr. Fauci added that the NIAID has been working quickly to make the process move faster. That is why the testing of the vaccine has already moved from animal testing to human testing or clinical trials. They are just waiting for a good immune response, so that they’ll know if it is alright to enter Phase 2. The Zika vaccine has a plasmid (a tiny, circular DNA piece). Inside the plasmids are gene codes for Zika virus proteins. These codes will cause vaccinated people to have an immune response against Zika. The immune response shields them from Zika infection. This is called the DNA vaccine. Scientists have already used it before in preventing pathogens such as the West Nile Virus. Unlike other vaccines that have dormant viruses in them, the Zika vaccine does not contain any infectious protein. The people will not receive an actual Zika viral infection upon vaccination.
When the study starts, each volunteer gets a dose of the new Zika vaccine. Some of them will receive 2 or 3 doses that have intervals over a specific number of weeks. The vaccine is introduced with a jet injector that’s needle-free. It uses a high pressure fluid stream to inject the vaccine intramuscularly.
Even if the researchers expect to gather the data they need, right after the start of the trials, they will continue to supervise the volunteers for about two years. According to Fauci, they need to do this to see how long their immune system responds to the vaccine. He also added that it could take several years before the vaccine would be applied outside clinical trials.
If the vaccine becomes approved, it will still be discussed who would get it and when they would get it. Those targeted for the vaccine are women of childbearing age. It is known that Zika causes birth defects if pregnant women are infected while they are pregnant. Even so, the vaccine should not be given while the woman is pregnant. The safety of the vaccine when introduced into pregnant women has not been tested yet. Women should be protected from Zika before they even get pregnant.
According to Fauci, doctors will probably end up giving the approved Zika vaccine to all children in countries affected by Zika. This was done for rubella, which is also a disease linked to birth defects.
Organic Repellents against Zika
Being safe from the Zika virus involves protecting yourself from mosquito bites in general. Using repellents is one way to make sure that mosquitoes won’t get you. Deciding what repellent to use is a huge endeavor because most people want to stay safe against harmful chemicals, too.
You may be familiar with DEET, which is approved by US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). It is the most common ingredient in conventional commercial insect repellents. DEET is N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide, which is designed to repel and not kill insects. It is used by about a third of Americans every year.
DEET may be approved by the US EPA, but it can cause soreness, blistering, rashes, and eye irritation. It is also linked to several neurological issues. Based on EPA’s studies, there are at least eighteen cases of neurological problems in children and two deaths in adults that have been reported. These cases were said to have been associated with DEET.
This harmful ingredient has an undesirable impact on bodies of water and on wildlife. It is toxic to aquatic life and birds. Sadly DEET is found in about 75% of the water sources in the US. This includes the Mississippi River.
You cannot risk having DEET in your system or in your household. Natural or organic mosquito repellents are available in the market, but you can make your very own in the comfort of your own home. Below are some organic mosquito repellent recipes that you can try:
1.Lemon Eucalyptus Mosquito Repellent.
- Sunflower oil or witch hazel oil
- Lemon eucalyptus oil
How to make it:
- Combine 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil and 10 parts witch hazel or sunflower oil.
- Spray or rub on your skin.
2.Lavender Vanilla Mosquito Repellent
- 3 to 4 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
- 3 to 4 tablespoons of lemon juice
- Distilled water
How to make it:
- Get an 8 oz spray bottle and put the vanilla extract, lavender essential oil, and lemon juice in it.
- Add the distilled water.
- Cover spray bottle.
- Shake well.
- Spray it on your clothes or skin.
- 5 oz of whole cloves
- 16 oz of rubbing alcohol
- 5 oz of baby oil or another type of oil (fennel, almond, chamomile, sesame, and lavender among others)
How to make it:
- Infuse the cloves in alcohol for about four days.
- Stir the infusion every morning and evening.
- Strain the infusion into a spray bottle.
- Add your oil of choice.
- Shake well.
- Spray on clothes or skin.
4.Fresh or Dried Herbs Repellent
- Rubbing alcohol or witch hazel
- Distilled water
- Dried or fresh herbs such as the following: lemongrass, peppermint, spearmint, citronella, lavender, catnip
How to make it:
- Boil 3-4 tablespoons of herbs (dried or fresh) in 1 cup of water. You can combine any of the herbs given earlier, just as long as there is something from the mint family and some cloves.
- Mix these well, cover the mixture, and then cool it. Covering it will trap the volatile oils in the mixture.
- Strain the infusion.
- Add in 1 cup of alcohol or rubbing alcohol.
- Store in a cool room.
- Use as needed.
5.Vinegar of the Four Thieves Repellent
- 2 tablespoons of dried mint, lavender, sage, rosemary, mint, and thyme
- At least one quart size jar with a very tight lid
- A 32 oz bottle of apple cider vinegar.
How to make it:
- Place the dried herbs and vinegar into the glass jar.
- Seal it tightly.
- Store somewhere accessible.
- Shake well everyday for 2-3 weeks.
- Strain the herbs after 2 -3 weeks.
- Store in tincture and spay bottles inside the fridge.
- If you want to apply on skin, dilute half of the mixture with water and then use as you need it.
Additional Ways to Improve your Organic Repellent
Here are more ways to make your organic repellent better:
- Protect yourself even more by wearing a plastic-free insect-repelling band. This is effective and safe for children.
- Add in vanilla extract to any of the recipes above or just apply it on your skin.
- Mix vanilla with water and spray it on your skin.
- After applying your organic repellent, try to grow citronella, lavender, mint, and thyme in your garden or on your patio.
- Rub lavender oil or lavender flowers on your skin. Concentrate behind your ears, under your arms, and on your neck.
- Rub dried or fresh leaves of the mint family on your skin. Choose from lemongrass, peppermint, catnip, spearmint, citronella, pennyroyal or basil.
Commercial Organic Repellents
If you don’t have the time or the ingredients to make the homemade repellent recipes, below are a few of the commercial organic repellents available on the market:
1.BugMace All Natural Mosquito Repellent. This is an organic repellent that has essential oils (geranium, lemongrass, cedar wood, peppermint, rosemary, and lemongrass), distilled water, and organic non-GMO soybean oil. Just shake it well before you use it. Then, apply it liberally on your exposed skin every three to four hours or as often as you need it.
2.Yellow Bird All Natural Insect Repellent. This is an organic repellent that has essential oils (geranium, lemongrass, cedar wood, peppermint, rosemary, and lemongrass), distilled water, and organic non-GMO soybean oil. Just shake it well before you use it. Then, apply it liberally on your exposed skin every three to four hours or as often as you need it.
3.Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent. This repellent has no DEET, dyes, parabens, artificial fragrances, phthalates, and sulfates. It is made with only 100% essential oils of geranium, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary, and citronella. It helps repel flies, gnats, and mosquitoes. Babyganics has never been tested on animals and it is non greasy.
4.All Terrain Herbal Armor. This organic repellent is allergy tested, safe for sensitive skin, and non-irritating. It has six oils that naturally repel mosquitoes. They have a total of 25% concentration. It is time-released, proven to be 95.8% effective for three hours and 100% potent for two hours. It is also water- and sweat-resistant. It doesn’t damage equipment or clothing.
5.Aromaflage. This is a company known for having fragrances that deflect mosquitoes as effectively as DEET repellents. Each bottle retails for 30 to 65 USD. It sports an elite look that is more fitting to be placed on cosmetic shelves than on pharmaceutical counters.
6.Sawyer Fisherman’s Formula Picaridin. This repellent is potent for eight hours. It may be oily, but it has a unique scent. It smells a bit like corn chips that has a little touch of citrus.
Is Picaridin Better than DEET?
As you know, DEET is the undisputed leader in the world of mosquito repellents. People have been using it for at least 50 years. Because of its harmful side effects, people have been searching for a better, safer alternative. This better, more natural version of DEET is picaridin. Picaridin and DEET are both effective in repelling mosquitoes.
DEET has a strong, unpleasant odor, it’s greasy, and it can dissolve vinyl, rayon, spandex, and other synthetic materials. It is also a hazard for plastic lenses and sunglasses.
Since 1998, picaridin has already been available in Australia and Europe. It is the best repellent in these continents. Picaridin is non-greasy, odorless, and does not dissolve synthetic materials. It is organic but it is as potent as DEET. By using repellents with picaridin, you take care of your family’s overall health.
Everyone deserves to have a normal, healthy life. Every pregnant woman deserves to have a safe and stress-free preganancy and delivery. Every baby has the right to be born normal, free from any neurological problems. Preventing the Zika from infecting you and your loved ones should always be a priority.
Zika is now known to be sexually transmitted as well. This gives you more than enough reason to protect yourself against mosquitoes the safe way. Organic mosquito repellents ideally repel mosquitoes without leaving you any harmful side effect, such as those you acquire from using DEET. In addition to using organic repellents, you should maintain a clean, standing water-free environment. Doing so will prevent those Zika mosquitoes from breeding and thriving. Work with your community or local government to deal with the mosquito control in your area. It is always best to have the cooperation of every resident in your village, so that you can be sure to enjoy optimal results.