Before you grab that DEET-based mosquito repellent, consider using a natural option instead. DEET, also known as diethyl-meta-toluamide, by any other name still stinks. And research proves that the main ingredient in commercial mosquito repellents leaves more than a bad odor. According to a Duke University study, it damages brain cells, can cause behavioural changes, and can have harmful interactions with some medications. The scientists also observed that it caused brain cell death in animals frequently exposed to or after prolonged use of DEET.
Additional research found that up to 15 percent of DEET is absorbed through the skin directly into the bloodstream. According to safety data sheets on diethyl-meta-toluaminde, the toxic effects of this chemical include: reproductive disturbances, genetic material mutations, and central nervous system disorders.
There’s no need to suffer long-term and serious health consequences to ward off pesky mosquitoes. Choose a natural alternative that’s proven to work as effectively as DEET or in some case, MORE effectively than DEET.
Here are some natural options:
1. Catnip You can drive cats wild and make mosquitoes run in terror, according to research at Iowa State University which found that the essential oil found in the herb catnip is about 10 times more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes.
2. Citronella The old standby. Use only pure essential oil of citronella—not fragrance oil. Oils purchased in bulk for burning are not adequate for applying topically to your skin. For your skin it is best to get a high quality citronella essential oil from a natural food store. While it’s not as effective as catnip, it’s still a good option.
3. Garlic Eat lots of fresh garlic—mosquitoes can’t stand the stuff.
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