4 Natural Mosquito Repellents to Try
Created by Ankita A Talwar Updated on Aug 28, 2015
While the scare of illnesses such as Dengue and Chikungunya are quite real, so are the effects of chemical-based mosquito repellents. Both the deodorizer types or the coils, are known to kick off series of breathing-related allergies, coughs, nasal irritations etc in both adults and children, but that doesn't mean we have to live with the singing of the mosquitoes. We explored the market for some popular natural mosquito repellants that should drive the pesky insects away but not play with your health. Here is a list:
Citronella: A popular essential, it is derived from a species of lemon grass and the smell of it is researched to be quite offensive for the mosquitoes, especially the dengue-causing variety (a study published in the Phytotherapy Research journal verified the same). Most popular brands such as Odomos, FabIndia, and Forest Essentials have citronella-based insect sprays or creams in their kitty. Worth exploring.
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil (OLE): A very well-documented mosquito repellant, OLE is known to have an effect as powerful as a chemical repellant. If you read the labels, you will find it listed as an ingredient in most natural insect repellants. If you wish to use it, try and procure the insect-repellant version of it and not the essential oil as the efficacy of the latter is not yet confirmed.
Neem oil: According to a study by the US National Research Council, neem oil is a very effective and same mosquito repellant. Neem oil is easily available at most chemist shops. It can be used in a similar fashion as the lavendar oil, by diluting it with some natural oil such as coconut oil.
Clove oil: Another very popular and easily-available oil, it too is touted to have insect repelling action. If using on a small child, blend with a natural oil (for eg: castor oil or coconut oil) and apply it on the skin.
But remember, that these oils will not provide protection for very long hours. Most have an efficacy of maximum 1-2 hours meaning that they need to be reapplied. So, while you do that here are some other tips to keep your child safe:
1) when outdoors, make your child wear full sleeve clothes and cover her legs too.
2) For very small infants, apply the repellant cream/spray on the pram, clothing, or simply on a napkin and place that napkin, near the baby. This helps drive off the mosquitoes without the repellant being in contact with the skin directly.
3) Efficacy on these repellants also depends on factors such as how long will the child be outdoors; what is the population of mosquitoes in the place etc. so, use wisely. Also, watch out for any allergies. Ideally give the skin a break from constant usage. Do not apply on any skin rashes or wounds.
4) The best mosquito repellant known so far is the humble mosquito net. Use it.