by Nicholeon July 03,2014 in Health and WellnessJust For FunParenthood

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For many of us, it’s summer time again- the time of year for running through the sprinkler and chasing down the ice cream truck as it sings and lumbers down the street. Unfortunately, it also means the reappearance of the universally despised mosquito. Even the Dalai Lama is rumored to smack a biting mozzie.

They may be back, but you know what they say: the best offense is a good defense. We agree, so we have put together a list of some of the best mosquito repellants and after-bite care ideas for you here. Remember though, all bodies and skin types are different, so use your own best judgement in what works well for you and your kids and consult your medical professional. Immediately discontinue use of any product, natural or otherwise, that raises your concerns or shows any signs of reaction. With that said, let’s get ready to dodge those unholy hell bugs.

Physical Barriers
The best way to keep from being bitten is so never let them close. Wearing long sleeves, socks and pants help a lot with this strategy. Bug nets and screens are another great line of defense. These are especially useful if you or your kids have sensitivities to chemical or natural products. You may also want to apply bug spray onto your clothing and avoid spraying it on the skin.

Timing

Biting mozzies are on the hunt at dawn and dusk, especially at dusk, so try to time your outings to avoid them.

Bug Sprays


These topicals are proven to work. Here are three recipes to help you find the perfect one for you.

Bug Spray #1 (Essential Oils)
Ingredients and Materials:
Essential oils choices: Citronella, White Sage, Clove, Lemongrass, Lemon Geranium, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Neem, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint
Natural Witch Hazel
Distilled Water
Vegetable glycerin or aloe vera or your favorite body oil, like coconut or sesame (optional for skin conditioning)
Spray bottle (8-12oz capacity recommended)

How to Make Essential Oils Bug Spray:

1. Fill spray bottle with 4oz of distilled water
2. Add 3oz of witch hazel to that
3. Add 1/2 tsp of vegetable glycerin or aloe vera or oil (optional)
4. Add 30-50 drops of your chosen essential oils. The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be, so be mindful of any reactions and stop use if any occur. My personal favorite mix is: Lemon Geranium, Clove, Citronella, White Sage and Lavender.

Bug Spray #2 (Dried or Fresh Herbs)

Ingredients and Materials:
Distilled or filtered water
Witch hazel or rubbing alcohol
Dried herbs of your preference: peppermint, spearmint, citronella, lemongrass, catnip, lavender and chamomile
Spray bottle (8-12oz capacity recommended)

How to Make Herbal Bug Spray:

1. Boil 1 cup of filtered water and let cool to lukewarm.
2. Once to warm, add 3-4 TBSP in total of any combination of these dried herbs: citronella, peppermint, spearmint, catnip and lavender. Throwing in a few dried cloves offers an additional boost or chamomile to sooth the skin.
3. Mix well, cover and allow to cool to room temperature.
4. Now strain out herbs and add 1 cup of witch hazel or rubbing alcohol to the cooled the herbal infusion.
5. Pour into a spray bottle and between uses, store in a cool, dark place to extend it’s shelf life.
6. Use and reapply as needed to keep those mosquitoes away.

Bug Spray #3 (Thieves and Vinegar)

Ingredients and Materials:
8oz or so of Apple Cider Vinegar
8oz or so of Distilled or Filtered Water
2 TBSP each of Dried Sage, Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme and Mint
3-4 Whole Cloves
1 Glass quart jar with sealing lid
Spray bottle (8-12oz capacity recommended)

How to Make Thieves and Vinegar Bug Spray:

1. Put your dried herbs and cloves into large glass jar.
2. Cover the mixture with vinegar. Leave at least a 1/2 inch of space at the top to allow for shaking the mixture.
3. Seal tightly and store on counter or place you will see it daily. Shake well each day for two to three weeks.
4. After 2-3 weeks, strain out the herbs. You can compost these or use them in your garden to deter deer and bugs.
5. Fill your spray bottle half full of water and the remainder with your vinegar infusion. Between uses, store in a cool, dark place to extend its shelf life.

After Bite Care

When your best efforts to dodge getting bitten aren’t enough, there are topical treatments that can help to soothe and relieve the itch and redness. My favorite product, and one that I use for myself and my little one, is B&T’s SssstingStop (yup, that’s the official spelling). It’s natural and homeopathic and it does great job at minimizing the itch, pain and redness of bites and stings. Aloe vera can help too as can oatmeal packs or rose vinegar. 

We wish you a bite-free summer!

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