Prevent Mosquito Bites with These Insect Repellants
Summer's here, which means it's bug bite season and time to stock up on insect repellant to ward off pesky mosquitoes.
You've probably noticed that mosquitoes seem to prefer some people over others -- one person is eaten alive by mosquitoes while another is rarely bothered by a bite. The difference in how often mosquitoes bite you may be all about the microbes that live on your skin. It seems that for some of these blood-sucking insects (only female mosquitoes bite), people with a lot of the same type of bacteria on their skin are more delicious to mosquitoes than folks with a more complex mixture of microscopic tag-alongs. Drinking beer also draws skeeters. Mosquitoes are known to love the smell of beer as it wafts off a beer drinker's body.
What's a target of these flying vampires to do? We're fans of oil of lemon eucalyptus (or PMD, for para-menthane-3,8-diol, the synthesized version) for a natural bug bite repellant. It's registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, which means it's safe and effective. One application gives 2 hours of protection (about as much as an insect repellant with a low concentration of the chemical DEET). Non-DEET options include products made with oils of geranium, soybean, and coconut, which offer about 1½ hours of protection.
DEET is the standard insect repellant that most effectively repels mosquitoes and is now said to be safe for children, although infants and pregnant and breastfeeding women may want to avoid it. It's available as 4.75% DEET for kids and 23.8% DEET for adults and lasts 5 hours.
You can also take a different mixture of probiotics every day to diversify your skin flora (some of what we eat populates our skin after a bit), which may also repel mosquitoes.