It is that time of year again—all of us are looking for ways to prevent bug bites or lessen the itching and swelling if we have already been bit. I live on the water in Florida, so I am constantly swatting at mosquitoes, gnats, or what we call “no-see-ums.” My visitors always ask me for bug spray when we sit outside. I’ll share my natural recipe in a moment.
First, I want to mention another pervasive bug to be on alert about—the tick. Ticks cause many health problems that can take years to overcome. I was bitten by a tick seven years ago and did not even know it. The characteristic “bulls eye” bite did not appear on my skin as it usually does.
I believe that I am not alone when it comes to having been bitten by a tick without knowing it. A year later I became very sick with joint inflammation and my immune system on “fire.” I chose a natural route to heal myself. It took quite a bit of time and money because I choose not to use antibiotics.
Many people think ticks only live in certain areas of the country but I believe they can be in any area.
The following are some simple common sense steps that I use to help prevent bites of all sorts:
- Dress: If you go hiking in wooded areas make sure your body is covered with light clothing to prevent bug bites, especially tick bites. And make sure your ankles and feet are covered.
- Drain: Remove areas of standing water in your yard to prevent mosquitos from breeding. Even your bird bath is a common area for breeding.
- Defend: Use a natural bug repellant to keep bug bites at bay. You can buy one in your local health food store or make one yourself (see my recipe below). Avoid the commercial repellants that contain DEET and other harmful chemicals. Remember, we have enough chemicals entering our body on a daily basis—we do not need to add more. Also remember, bugs are at their worst at dawn and dusk, so stay inside at these times if you can.
The following bug spray recipe is one you can make yourself with natural essential oils that you can purchase at a health food store.
In a 4-ounce spray bottle, combine:
- 2 oz. distilled water
- 1 ½ oz. witch hazel
- 20 drops of the following essential oils:
If you have already been bitten and have swelling and itching skin, the following tips will help:
- Rub aloe vera on the bites
- Add 2 to 3 cups of apple cider vinegar to a bath
- Make a paste with baking soda and witch hazel and apply to irritated skin.
- Or purchase an itch relief product at your natural health store.
I keep all of these items along with my sunscreen in a large plastic container on my porch, so when I’m boating, sitting outside, or leaving the house I can quickly grab it and have what I need in one place.
Wishing everyone a happy and itch-free summer!