The CDC maintains that the best way to protect oneself from mosquitos is to stay inside during peak exposure times and wear protective clothing. But for those sunset walks, backyard barbecues, and socially distanced picnics, your next line of defense is insect repellent.
Many bug sprays on the market these days are formulated with N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or DEET. Though it is generally considered safe to use as needed, overexposure to DEET in humans has resulted in eye irritation, vomiting, and nausea. If you'd rather steer clear of DEET, essential oils can be one effective alternative. However, it's important to never apply these oils directly onto the skin, as they too can cause irritation in high doses.
This recipe dilutes essential oils with vinegar and witch hazel for a smell-good DIY mosquito repellent:
Homemade bug spray recipe:
· ½ cup water (or apple cider vinegar, for a more potent blend)
· ½ cup witch hazel
· 20 drops citronella essential oil
· 10 drops rosemary essential oil
· 15 drops lemongrass essential oil
· 10 drops holy basil oil
· 20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
· 1 tbsp vegetable glycerin
Combine ingredients in a 16 oz. spray bottle and shake them up! Douse any exposed skin diligently, and reapply every couple of hours for maximum effect. Please note that essential oils should be patch-tested (i.e. applied to a small patch of skin) on everyone first, and shouldn't be used on children under 2 years old.
Author: Lindsay Kellner
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