The world is now fully aware of what Zika can do. The scare has caused many people to be more careful about their travels and their Zika prevention methods. Since the primary transmission of Zika is through mosquito bites, you should always be sure that you keep mosquitoes away from you and your loved ones.
How to Prevent Mosquito Bites
The female Aedes species of mosquitoes are the ones that need to bite so that they could acquire the blood they need for their eggs. To keep them away, here are some tips:
- Get rid of the things that store stagnant water in and around your home (old pails. Bottles, old tires, etc.)
- Light up mosquito coils
- Use mosquito netting during bedtime
- Keep your area clean
- Wear long pants and long sleeved shirts
- Use mosquito repellents
Why Use Natural Repellents Against Mosquitoes?
Have you ever wondered why you are encouraged to use natural mosquito repellents? Here are some of the reasons:
- Most of them work better. Studies have shown that natural mosquito repellents are equally or even more effective than repellents that have DEET. Soy-based repellents offer longer protection than products with low-concentration of DEET. Mosquito repellents that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus are better at deterring products with DEET. They are also effective in keeping ticks away.
- They do not have DEET. DEET (N,N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) is the most widely used active ingredient in making insect repellents. It helps give you ample protection against ticks, leeches, fleas, and mosquitoes. Even if DEET is truly effective, it is known to affect your nervous system. Some also fear that it may interact with chemicals from certain repellents. These could make DEET to become more toxic.
- They are good for your body. These natural repellents are also beneficial to your body. One example is peppermint oil, which energizes and improves your concentration. It also relaxes your muscles when you apply it on your skin.
- They are not harmful to skin. Many repellents have synthetic materials such as petroleum, phthalates, and parabens. These usually irritate people who have sensitive skin or who suffer from allergies. Natural mosquito repellents are free from such chemical compounds. That is why people enjoy being mosquito-free without dealing with negative adverse effects.
- Some of them have been developed by licensed doctors. Doctors know and understand the impact that ingredients of repellents have on your body. They want to make sure that their repellents help maintain optimal health while fighting off unwanted biting insects.
- They smell better. It is no secret that many insect repellents smell unpleasant. The unsavory smell is a downer on your camping trip or cookouts. Natural repellents are derived from essential oils (cinnamon oil, peppermint oil, or geranium oil). They smell a lot better. Their fragrances entice repellent users more.
Need-To-Know Info about Permethrin
Basically, permethrin is the synthesized form of pyrethrum (a natural insecticide that is obtained from Chrysanthemums). It is used in different dosages for lice treatments in humans, agricultural purposes, and repelling insects. Permethrin repels biting insects such as ticks and mosquitoes. If you want to use it as a repellent, you just have to apply it on your clothes and not on your skin.
Permethrin is known as an effective and safe mosquito repellent. There have been tests performed on lightweight uniforms that were treated until they were moist. About 4.5 ounces of 0.5% Permethrin provided 97.7% protection from mosquitoes.
This effective product was developed for clothing. It bonds well to clothes so well that it stays repellent to biting insects. The effectiveness of permethrin on clothes is about five to twenty washings or two weeks to six months.
Some people reported mild irritation of the skin when they used permethrin treated clothes. There are no lasting effects reported from using permethrin. Because it is biodegradable, it binds easily to clothing and soil. In just one to sixteen weeks, it breaks down completely. It is not toxic to mammals and birds at all, but it is to fish, bees, and other insects. It is crucial that the permethrin residue does not contaminate aquatic environments or crops.
Below are some pointers in applying permethrin to some items:
- Select your clothing pieces (socks, shirts, pants or shorts).
- Spread the items on a surface and prepare your spray can of permethrin.
- Hold the spray can about a foot away from the clothes.
- Use sweeping motions in spraying permethrin on the clothes.
- Spray more on collars and cuffs.
- Repeat the process when you turn the clothes over.
- Hang the clothes and allow them to dry thoroughly.
- You can place the treated clothes in resealable plastic bags until you are ready to use them.
- If you want to treat mosquito nets, repeat the process you did for your clothes.
Using Permethrin and Another Insect Repellent
You can definitely use permethrin with other insect repellents such as picaridin or DEET (N,N—diethyl-meta toluamide). Remember that DEET or picaridin can be applied on your skin and permethrin is for your clothes. With this much protection, you are sure to avoid the any illness brought about by mosquito bites.
Why Permethrin is Prescribed
Permethrin is generally used to treat scabies in children (at least 2 months old) and adults. The over-the-counter (OTC) permethrin is used to treat live in children (at least 2 months old) and adults. Permethrin products are classified as pediculicides and scabicides. They kill mites and lice.
Below are some of the steps to remember in applying permethrin:
- Rub a thin layer of permethrin cream from your neck to your toes (do not forget the soles, skin folds, waist, and buttocks).
- This cream should be applied on the forehead, temples, hairline, or scalp of adults above 65 years old and babies.
- You may need to use the entire tube.
- Leave the permethrin cream on your skin for about eight to fourteen hours.
- Wash off the cream by showering or soaking in the tub.
- Take note that you may feel some itchiness after your treatment. This does not mean that your treatment has not worked. Just check with your doctor to see if there are still live mites at least fourteen days after the treatment. The process needs to be repeated.
- Wash your hair first and then rinse it with water. Refrain from using a shampoo with condition or a conditioner. These products do not allow the permethrin treatment to work well.
- Dry your hair well until it is damp.
- Shake the bottle of permethrin lotion so that the medication is mixed evenly.
- Get a towel and use it to cover your eyes and face. Keep your eyes closed during the treatment. You may need another person to apply the lotion.
- Use permethrin to your scalp and hair. Apply the lotion behind your neck and behind your ears.
- Leave the lotion on your scalp and hair for ten minutes. A timer would be helpful.
- Rinse your scalp and hair with warm water, preferably in a sink. Do not rinse it in your tub or in your shower because the lotion should not get all over your body.
- Dry your hair and smooth it out with a comb.
- Wash your hands properly. This includes anyone who helped you.
- Use a lice comb to remove the dead nits (empty shells of lice eggs) and lice.
- After seven days, check your head again. If you see live lice, repeat the process.
- Sanitize your towels, clothing, underwear, sheets, pajamas, hats, and pillowcases. Use hot water or send them to the dry cleaners. Wash hair clips, combs, brushes and other items you use for personal care in hot water.
Basics of Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is from the extract of a eucalyptus tree that is native to Australia. The said extract has been refined so that the concentration of PMD (pare-menthane-3,8-diol) from 1% to 65%. The product is different from the tree oil that has not been processed.
The refined version of the oil of lemon eucalyptus is known as a biochemical pesticide. The EPA defines it as a natural ingredient that uses non-toxic mechanisms in controlling pests. It went through less safety testing than synthetic pesticides. It also went through tests that show effectiveness. It should not be used on children below three years of age.
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is one of the natural organic oils from lemon-scented gum eucalyptus plant. It has gained popularity as an effective insect repellent. DEET has brought dangers to consumers, so steering clear of it is a natural move. The oil of lemon eucalyptus is derived from the twigs and leaves of Corymbia citriodora or Eucalyptus citriodora (lemon-scented gum eucalyptus plant). The lemon eucalyptus tree grows up to about fifty meters high in tropical and temperate northeastern Australia. It is acquired and sought after for honey production and structural timber. It is also used in Australia’s horticulture.
Uses of Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil is extracted through the process of steam distillation. It has a thin consistency, with pale yellow coloration. It smells fresh, lemony, and sweet, and a little woody. Take note that the oil in its pure form is unregistered with the EPA as an insect repellent. The refined version of lemon eucalyptus oil (PMD) has been used for a long time already but it was only recently that it has become an important commercial repellant in the US. In China, it is known as Quwenling, which means effective repellent of mosquitoes.
In the year 2000, PMD or oil of lemon eucalyptus was registered by the EPA as a biopesticide repellent. This means that the oil id derived from natural, organic materials. The products that have this oil can be applied to clothing and human skin to ward off gnats, mosquitoes, and biting flies. You can avail of it in the form of lotion or spray.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus essential oil consists of 80% citronellal, which is produced mainly in China and Brazil. Citronellal is transformed into trans- and cis-isomers of PMD. It is a process, which occurs naturally as the leaves of the citronellal plant age. The pure form of PMD is made for commercial production from artificial citronellal. Linalool and limonene have also been extracted from lemon eucalyptus.
Known Benefits of Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
Below are some of the benefits you can get from oil of lemon eucalyptus:
- Helps against the colds, arthritis, cold sores, bronchitis, fever, catarrh, coughing, sinusitis, flu, and poor circulation
- Serves as a safe alternative to repellents that have DEET
- It can provide up to 6-7.75 hours of protection.
- It can protect you from deer tick, stable flies, and biting midge
- It is a repellent against ticks (Applying Citriodiol or 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus extract three times every day decreases tick attachments in tick-infested areas.
- Treats muscle spasms
- Helps joint pains such as osteoarthritis
- Gets rid of onychomycosis or toenail fungus
- Relieves congestion
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Side Effects
There have been no side effects acquired from PMD, according to EPA studies. It is classified as an eye irritant. Diluted lemon eucalyptus oil is milder. Before you use this repellent, be sure to perform a skin patch test to see whether you are allergic to it or not.
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus Precautions
Always talk to your doctor first before you use oil of lemon eucalyptus. It is safe for most adult users when it is applied on your skin as a mosquito repellent. Know that some people might have skin reaction to oil of eucalyptus oil.
It is not safe if you ingest oil of lemon eucalyptus. It can lead to seizures and even death if you eat it. To be safe, do not use pure oil of lemon eucalyptus and products that have it of you are pregnant or nursing.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus is known as the most efficient and most effective organic repellent available. CDC (Center for Disease Control) included it in their list of recommended insect repellents.
Zika is a disease you have to watch out for with the help of natural repellents like permethrin and oil of lemon eucalyptus. Talk to your doctor before you use any repellent. It is always best to protect yourself from mosquitoes while maintaining optimal health.