Avoid mosquito bites this summer –
without toxic sprays
Summer time means outdoor fun, cookouts, and for many people, itchy mosquito bites. Toxic Free NC offers some simple strategies for avoiding the bite, and getting smart about insect repellents.
If you’ll be outdoors at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active, wear long clothes that don’t leave skin exposed. (You may use insect repellent on your clothes). When you do get bites, soothe them by slathering on an astringent such as witch hazel as soon as you come inside — it will prevent scratching and help bites to heal quickly.
There is some controversy around whether the pesticide DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is safe for general use, especially for children – some public health agencies recommend it where mosquitoes are known to be carrying West Nile Virus. While DEET is an extremely effective mosquito repellent, it is also a neurotoxin, and studies have shown that prolonged frequent exposure can irritate skin, cause muscle twitching and weakness and harm the brain and nervous system, especially when combined with other pesticides such as permethrin.
Consumer studies report that herbal repellents containing citronella can be just as effective as DEET at repelling mosquitoes, but need to be applied more often. The solution is to choose the safer formulas and reapply as needed.
General guidelines for using any insect repellent: