This week brings the official first day of summer which means longer days, rising temperatures, blooming flowers and a surge of insects.
Summertime usually leads to spending more time outdoors enjoying beaches, lakes and other sceneries of nature. Summer is an important time to know how to protect yourself from insects, as rates of insect-borne illnesses are on the rise.
At The Lifestyle Clinic we focus on disease prevention, not only in terms of nutrition and exercise, but also by minimizing exposure to toxins unique to this time of year. Most commercial insect repellents contain a chemical called DEET which is a pesticide and should be used with extreme caution. Before reaching for a harsh bug spray, why not try some safer preventative measures?
Try these 10 easy tips to stay safe from insect-borne illnesses this summer.
- Protect your skin by wearing long sleeves and long pants when possible. Choose light-colored solid prints so that insects are more easily detectable.
- To stop ticks, tuck long pants into your socks and avoid tall grass and underbrush. Keep up with the growth of your lawn. Always do a full body check once coming from outdoors.
- Try to stay indoors during dusk and dawn which are peak times for mosquito activity.
- Keep window screens in good repair.
- Keep outdoor meals protected by using a fan to deter mosquitoes.
- Plant mosquito-repelling plants such as scented geraniums, lemon thyme, marigold, citrosa plants, sweet basil or sassafras.
- Eliminate any standing water near your home where mosquitoes could be reproducing.
- Encourage natural insect predators such as ladybugs, bats, dragonflies, praying mantis, spiders, and birds.
- Use yellow light bulbs in outdoor fixtures. Bugs are not as attracted to yellow lights.
- Use unscented skin products and choose non toxic repellents.
If you do encounter a sting or bite from an insect then try one of these natural home remedies to relieve your symptoms:
- Apply tea tree oil to the affected area. Remove the stinger and gently apply around the entry point.
- Mix baking soda with water to form a paste. Remove the stinger and apply the paste to the area until the pain is gone.
- Slice a yellow onion in half and rub the cut side onto the bite, the onion’s sulfur compounds will react with the area of the bite.
- Tape a cotton ball soaked in white vinegar over the bite and leave overnight.
Written by: Dr. Kivette Parkes, Naturopathic Doctor