The first sign of spring is a robin. The first sign of fall are the leaves changing colors and the first sign of summer is a mosquito!

Mosquitoes are nasty insects along with ticks, chiggers and flies to name a few that all carry disease!  Insects follow after the scent of carbon dioxide gas to find a meal and did you know that our skin and breath naturally give off a carbon dioxide?  That’s why we spray down with insect repellent, changing the odor of the skin making it not so attractive to the insect, repelling it. What about our breath?  I’ve got a few ideas at the end of the article.

You have been hearing for years that DEET is dangerous. The most serious concern about DEET is its effects on the central nervous system, causing slurred speech and confusion, seizures and even death. Pretty scary sounding!  This will probably never happen to you but there are some things you need to know.  DEET is registered by the federal government (Environmental Protection Agency) as a pesticide!  Another EPA registered insecticide is PERMETHRIN, used to repel and kill ticks and mosquitoes and other arthropods.  This chemical even retains its effect after repeated laundering!!!! Manufacturers of PERMETHRIN instruct us to use it only on clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear. And caution is placed on inhalation exposure.

This is the thing–Would you take ant and roach insecticide and spray it on your baby’s clothing or his face because you’re picnicking where ants might be?  Common sense tells you NO, but that is exactly what you do with a chemical that is registered as a pesticide or insecticide, to keep bugs at bay. These chemicals cause very serious side effects and can absorb into the blood via our skin or from vapors we breathe.  They can alter the DNA and FYI: mixed with an insecticide can double its strength without you even knowing it.  For example, an apple with insecticide on it can be deadly if you eat the apple along with using a DEET pesticide.  The EPA reports that DEET is used by 30% of Americans each year, and still 5,000 DEET-related cases are reported each year by the National Centers for Poison Control. And on a lighter side DEET…

  • Dissolves some plastics like a watchband, computer keyboards and nail polish
  • Pollutes the soil and water
  • Is sticky on skin
  • Is smelly
  • Is unsafe

If you decide to use these highly poisonous insecticides and pesticides, read the instructions carefully. Call poison control 1-800-222-1222 if you experience headaches, nausea, confusion, or anything worse.

It is a violation of our human rights for companies to be allowed to state that these chemicals are “safe when used as directed”! So how do we, as consumers, end this recklessness!  Buy products that are neither harmful to you or the environment that repel, kill and relieve insect stings and bites. Here are some essential oils that can be used in place of highly toxic chemicals:

  • Oil of Citronella, comes from dried, cultivated grasses and has a distinctive odor that masks the CO2 or lactic acid on our bodies that mosquitoes and other insects find attractive.  It has been used for over 50 years as an insect repellent
  • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is approved for efficacy and human safety by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Studies showed that it gave complete protection up to 8 hours
  • Tea Tree Oil has been known to repel mosquitoes, lice, ants and many other insects that bite.  It also soothes insect bites and stings and helps in removal of ticks and chiggers. Recipe: 1 large misting spray bottle, Pour the 2 oz. of organic tea tree oil in the bottle and fill the rest with water. Mist onto skin and rub in. Reapply as needed
  • Citronella, Rosemary, Peppermint and Eucalyptus as a mix. This is a good combo mixing 5 drops each of the essential oils in 1oz. of sesame oil, which provides some sun protection. For children it is recommended 3 drops of each per 1oz. of oil. Place on all exposed skin like the face, neck, hands and feet (if you’re not wearing socks)
  • From the Inside Out take both vitamin B1 and garlic, to repel bugs, 48 hours before venturing outside. Avoid wearing bright colors and any sweet smelling perfumes, cologne, body soap, lotions or hair products.  Because bugs are attracted to sugary foods and drinks, they should be covered at all times. Wear long pants, socks and long sleeve shirts that are snug around the wrist. Tuck pants in boots when walking in tall grass or hiking. Stay inside at dawn and dusk (when the sun is setting), when mosquitoes are most active. And also keep away from shrubbery, where it’s shady and damp. It’s a perfect place for a game of ‘hide and go seek’— for your blood!

If peppermint is a good repellent for skin, maybe peppermint gum or tea would repel bugs from our breath? So, when pick nicking, common sense tells me to not drink or eat sugary things like pop and to leave the honey out of the tea.

Happy to be

Gerri Gatto, your weight loss coach