The cold and flu season is done, but that means the bugs and bites season is starting. Depending on where you live and what you do, you may be at risk of getting bitten or stung by a variety of insects, especially during the summer months.
Insect bites and stings cause 3 types of problems-
A local reaction at the site of the bite. This can range from mild redness, swelling and itching to a deep wound that may get infected.
A systemic reaction, meaning symptoms in other organs of the body. This could include nausea, vomiting, trouble breathing, dizziness, muscle aches , headache and anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reaction).
An insect transmitted infection
We worry most about this one (other than an anaphylaxis.) World wide, this is the most serious result of insect bites, leading to millions of illnesses and deaths. Malaria alone infects 200 million people, causing almost 500,000 deaths yearly.
Mosquitoes– bites can transmit malaria; Zika , chikungunya, dengue, West Nile,and yellow fever viruses
Ticks-bites transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, ehrlichiosis, and tularemia.
Preventing insect bites
Besides wearing long sleeve shirts, long pants and sleeping under nets, the best way to prevent these bites is with effective insect repellents applied to the skin.
These are the 5 insect repellents shown most effective in scientific studies.
(This section contains several affiliate links. They are here for your convenience and to support this blog. However, they do not indicate endorsement or advice to use.)
DEET- N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide
- best documented effectiveness against mosquitoes and also repels ticks, chiggers, fleas, gnats ,and flies.
- Safe for children over 2 months old
- Considered safe in pregnancy
- Protects against mosquitoes, ticks, flies, fleas, and chiggers
- Safe for children
- Safe in pregnancy
- Better tolerated than DEET
- Works against mosquitoes, deer ticks, flies
- Safe in pregnancy
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus – p-menthane-3,8-diol
- Repels mosquitoes, flies, gnats
- Less effective than DEET for ticks
- Not for children less than 3 years old
- Safe in pregnancy
- Repels and kills mosquitoes and ticks
- Is applied to clothing, nets, tents and sleeping bags
- No evidence of harm to children or in pregnancy
Less effective methods include
- Only effective against mosquitoes, not against ticks
- Less effective than DEET
- Obtained from clove, geraniol, patchouli
- Limited and variable protection against mosquitoes
Organic Bug Spray- USDA Organic Mosquito Repellent by Sky Organics (4oz)- All Natural with Essential Oils, DEET-free, Safe Insect Repellent for Adults, Kids, Baby & Pets – Premium Vegan & Cruelty-Free
You can help the victims of malaria by donating to the Malaria Medicine Fund. Blessings International gives malaria medicine to medical teams free of charge to use while treating malaria patients all over the world. 100% of donations go to this cause.
Read more and donate at this link
(Watercress Words endorses Blessings International but has no direct financial interest or connection. This is not a sponsored or affiliate link.)
The Medical Letter
The information in this post was taken from The Medical Letter where you can read more detail about each product, including duration of action and adverse effects, at this link-
The Medical Letter is a nonprofit organization that publishes drug evaluations and treatment recommendations. It does not accept advertisements, grants or donations from the government or pharmaceutical companies.
Listen to an Apple Podcast where 2 Docs Talk about
A vector is an organism that carries and transmits disease. The term usually refers to insects, but humans and other animals can also be vectors.
Episode 15: Emerging Vector Borne Diseases: Should We Be Worried
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