Mosquitoes are not only irriting with their continuous noisy buzz, they may also cause painful bites and itchiness. Worse still, mosquito bites may cause Malaria, Dengue Fever, or The West Nile Fever. Using a mosquito repellent helps to keep mosquitoes off of you, whether you are indoors, outdoors, during the day, or at night. If you intend on being out during summer, you will definitely need a mosquito repellent to ward off these blood thirsty insects.
What Attracts Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are attracted to humans by the emitted carbon dioxide, lactic acid, body warmth and body odors. Female mosquitoes are notorious for sucking human blood. This is because they depend on human blood for the successful development of their eggs. As it sucks its blood, a mosquito will also release its saliva onto us. When you use a mosquito repellent, the carbon dioxide, lactic acid and other body odors that attract mosquitoes are disguised or made repulsive to the mosquitoes.
Kinds of Mosquito Repellent
A mosquito repellent will be sold in the form of an aerosol, cream, soap, lotion, grease or oil and it can be applied to body, clothing, bed nets and camping equipment. A point of caution for mosquito repellents that you apply on your skin is that you should always first apply on a small skin area to test for any reaction or sensitivity. After a few hours of no reaction, you may comfortably use it on the rest of your body.
Ingredients in Mosquito Repellent
Mosquito repellents contain either natural or chemical ingredients. The most common ingredients are DEET and Picaridin. DEET is applied onto skin and is available in liquid, spray and lotion form and is the most effective mosquito repellent. DEET was first formulated in 1946 for use by the U.S. Army. It has since been used successful for repelling mosquitoes. According to EPA, short term exposure to DEET is not harmful to humans. Picaridin is as effective as DEET but most people prefer it to DEET as they consider it to be less harsh.
Permethrin is another ingredient that is very effective when used on clothes, shoes and camping gear.
Allethrin is used in mosquito repellents to treat outdoor areas that are prone to mosquitoes. This product vaporizes when heated and that is why it is used in mosquito coils, candles and lanterns. Before using any mosquito repellent on your skin, clothing or surroundings, ensure that you read the labels to understand what the active and inactive ingredients are.
All mosquito repellents must have an EPA registration number to ensure that they are safe for humans and the environment. If is of utmost importance to check the concentration of the active ingredient in the mosquito repellent that you choose. It should not be too high but should be a good percentage to ensure effectiveness.
Natural Mosquito Repellent
Due to concerns about chemical mosquito repellents, many people are opting to go for the natural ones. These are extracted from plants like lemongrass, citronella, eucalyptus, rosemary, myrtle, cedar, menthol, lemon, castor, cinnamon, rose geranium, calendula, lavender, melaleuca, and peppermint. These extracts are used in soaps, creams, candles, and lotions. The products made from these natural extracts are very mild; they can be used as your everyday body care products. Avon skin-so-soft bath oil is commonly used as effective deterrent for biting insects.
Take note that your mosquito repellent may lose its effectiveness because of:
- Too much sunscreen in it
- Dilution from rain and swimming
- Excess body perspiration
- Evaporation caused by high temperatures and wind