How To NATURALLY Prevent And Treat Insect Bites
By Kat Gal
How To NATURALLY Prevent And Treat Insect Bites
“Go away!” I screamed at a mosquito on my recent trip to Thailand. The mosquito didn’t listen, of course, but didn’t bite me either, thanks to my natural repellant spray.
Summer has arrived. This also means there being an increased number of bugs and insects around, leading to unwanted bites on your skin.
As a nomadic traveler who loves trotting around the globe and being in nature, I know all about insect bites.
I wasn’t always so knowledgeable. Early on in my nomad life, about 7 years ago, my main goal was to prevent bites, so while working in rural areas of Kenya, I carefully covered myself with potent, but highly toxic chemical repellants with high percentages of DEET.
Since then, I’ve learned about the dangers of DEET and other chemicals used in repellants and decided to turn to natural methods instead. Today you will not catch me with commercial products. Trust me though, natural methods are just as effective without the harm to your health.
Learn more about insect bites and follow the steps to prevent and help insect bites naturally.
Signs And Symptoms Of Bug Bites
There is a wide variety of bug bites with various signs, symptoms and side effects you may have to deal with this season.
When an insect bites you, it releases its saliva in the process, causing inflammation, blisters and irritations. Signs and symptoms may vary depending on the insect and your personal sensitivity levels.
Some Common Bug Bites You May Experience:
- Some flies
Fortunately, in the Unites States, Canada and Northern Europe, it is rare to catch serious diseases from insect bites, but closer to the equator you may have to worry about malaria, dengue fever, the West Nile virus, yellow fever, sleeping sickness and encephalitis. If you are traveling abroad, especially to tropical areas, make sure to check common diseases and take appropriate precautions.
A Word About Ticks And Lyme Disease
Living in the U.S., chances are you won’t be catching anything serious from a mosquito or a spider, but you have to be careful with ticks. Certain types of ticks carry lyme disease.
Early-lyme symptoms include flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sweats, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea and joint pain) and possibly a rash or Bell’s palsy (facial drooping). If lyme is not diagnosed early enough, it can turn chronic.
Chronic-lyme symptoms may include headaches, fatigue, cognitive impairment, joint pain, poor sleep, depression, other mood problems, muscle pain and neurological issues. Because these symptoms are so similar to many chronic illnesses, like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, depression, MS and so on, lyme often gets misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.
Hence, if you are going on a hike or to spend time in nature, especially in forest areas, wear closed shoes, tuck your pants into your socks, check for ticks once home and pay attention to potential early symptoms of lyme.
Simple Preventative Measures To Avoid Mosquito Bites
Mosquitos and other insects are the most active during dusk and dawn, therefore, it is wise to stay indoors during those times. However, if you do go out, wear light-colored, long sleeved shirts and long pants, hats and socks.
Skin chemicals like lactic acid and body temperature also attract critters, creating a higher chance of being bitten if you are out for a run or performing other exercise.
Banana oil seems to attract female sugar-loving insects, so you may want to lay off the bananas.
Supplementing with an extra 100 mg of B1 or B complex vitamin may make you less attractive to mosquitos, so are garlic and garlic supplements.
The 3 D’s Of Protection from Insect Bites:
- Drain: Mosquitos and many other insects need water to breed. Drain all standing water, such as the water in pet bowls, garbage bins and bird baths around your house.
- Dress: Wear light colored and loose clothing. Wear closed shoes and socks.
- Defend: Use insect repellents. The AMCA recommends commercial repellents, but chemical repellents – especially those with DEET – are dangerous to your health. Try some natural alternatives instead.
The Dangers Of DEET
DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is used in over 230 products made to prevent insect bites. DEET may prevent these bites somewhat successfully, however, it is incredibly toxic to your body and dangerous to your health.
Potential side effects of DEET exposure include:
- Impaired cell function in your brain
- Memory loss
- Muscle weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle and joint pain
Don’t worry. You can keep critters away naturally, DEET-free.
Keeping Insects Away And Preventing Bites Naturally
You can find highly effective and high quality natural and organic products at natural food stores, herbal stores, organic farmer’s markets and online. Always check the label for hidden chemicals.
You may also make your own repellent using:
- Clear vanilla oil mixed with olive oil is highly effective.
- Wash your body with citronella soap then put some 100% pure citronella essential oil on to keep critters away.
- Cinnamon leaf oil is another effective oil against bugs.
- Make your own natural insect spray mixing citronella, lemon grass oil, peppermint oil and vanillin for extra protection.
Besides being harmless and effective, another pro of natural repellents is their flavorful smell, instead of the sticky and smelly chemicals on the market.
Helping Bug And Insect Bites Naturally
No matter what you do, you will experience bites here and there. The good news is that you don’t have to deal with annoying symptoms for too long, you can help your bites naturally instead.
Use any of these powerful methods for natural help:
- Aloe Vera: With 130 active compounds and 34 amino acids it is beneficial to your skin for all kinds of cuts, inflammation, injuries and bites.
- Chamomile: It is a soothing herb that you can drink in a tea or apply directly to your skin.
- Calendula: It is another soothing herb that is rejuvenating and moisturizing at the same time.
- Cucumbers: They reduce swelling effectively, just apply them on your skin.
- Raw Organic Honey: They are anti-inflammatory and anti-biotic.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon is known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties. It may even repel mosquitos.
- Tea Tree Oil: It is fantastic for bites, cuts, burns and infection. It is a good antifungal and antimicrobial oil.
- Neem Oil: It is effective against fungal issues of the skin and is also helpful with bites and inflammation as well.
- Lavender: It is a calming essential oil that is soothing and antimicrobial.
- Lemon And Lime: The are both antimicrobial and antibacterial. Apply the citrus on your skin, unless you are experiencing blisters.
- Peppermint: It provides temporary relief from the discomfort of itching and pain.
- Basil: Basil is great for itching. You may use it as an essential oil or apply the crushed herb on your skin directly.
- Baking Soda: Mix baking soda with water, creating a paste with soothing, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.
- Warm Water: Soaking in a warm bath can be soothing. Use any of the essential oils listed above and add a few drops to the water.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: It is great for bug bites, as well as sunburn. Add it to a warm bath and soak up, or mix it with water and spray it on your skin.
- Hot/Cold Therapy: Hold a spoon under hot water (make sure it is not boiling or too hot!), then press it against your skin for hot treatment. Press an ice cube against your skin for cold therapy. You can alternate between the hot and cold, or just use one. Hot and/or cold presses can clean the area, reduce inflammation and reduce pain.
Enjoy Your Summer And The Outdoors
With some preparation, using the 3 D’s and natural preventative and remedying methods, you can enjoy being outdoors in nature without being covered in bites or using toxic chemicals.
What are your summer plans? How will you protect yourself against insect bites? Share in the comments below. As always, we would love to hear and learn from you.
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Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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