When we have outdoor activities with our family, especially when we’re out with our children, we make sure that they are protected from insects. It’s actually very important to make sure that kids stay protected from common insects, particularly ticks and mosquitoes, because these could be carrying virulent disease-causing microorganisms. For example, mosquitoes are known carriers of malaria and dengue hermorrhagic fever. Ticks also spread Lyme disease and relapsing fever. In addition, recent health news articles declare that ticks also carry an extremely infectious virus, the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus. It’s even called “The Armageddon Virus” because it is very deadly.
Due to the fact that insects carry many dangerous microorganisms, skin protection is important. Even though chemical insect repellents contain some substances that could be harmful to health, especially when used incorrectly, we still apply them on the skin to keep vectors and other irritating pests away. But apart from chemical repellents, there are other ways that we can protect ourselves and our kids from insects. Below are some suggestions that are worth considering.
1. Wear appropriate outfit when outdoors.
If you or your kids want to go on a picnic or maybe go hiking or camping, wear suitable clothing. Choose clothes that have long sleeves, and wear pants instead of shorts too. Staying wrapped up is one way to shield your skin from bug bites. But this can be uncomfortable when it’s summer. So, when the weather is warmer, you can opt for long-sleeved clothing. But make sure that the fabric is thinner so that you’ll feel cooler. Also, when choosing color for outdoor clothes, avoid brightly colored attire to avoid attracting insects.
2. Opt for closed shoes.
As an added protection, wear closed shoes. Sneakers and rubber shoes are alright, but boots are best for hiking or camping. Then, make sure to have socks on as well, and tuck pants inside socks to stop bugs from getting into your pants. Footwear must have grip and these should also be water resistant, especially if you’re going hiking in wet or damp paths.
3. Use screens or nets.
In case you’re going to be spending a night outdoors, bring mosquito nets. Stay inside these nets or a screened tent to avoid getting bitten. There are also permethrin-treated nets, which greatly help in killing bugs or keeping them away. In addition, if you are going out with your baby in a stroller, make sure that this has a screen that will shield your precious child from nasty insects.
4. Don’t wear scented items.
Most perfumes are based on the scents of a variety of flowers. Such odors are actually very appealing to different kinds of insects. Hence, if you are going to be spending time outdoors, avoid wearing perfume or body sprays. Don’t wear clothes that have been spritzed with perfume. Don’t use scented soap too because the smell will stick to your skin for awhile.
5. Try essential oils.
Many kinds of DEET-free insect repellents contain essential oils. Eucalyptus, citronella and cedar are examples of oils commonly found in insect repellents. But when using essential-oil-based repellents, be sure to read the instructions first before using. Most of the time, such repellents don’t have a lasting effect, and these must be reapplied every 2 hours or less.