Back-to-School has arrived, but the heat is NOT letting up, which means we still need to think about bug repellants. If I don’t apply insect repellant to Annabel’s or my skin, we get eaten alive (Richard somehow always comes home unscathed), so I’ve acquired a well-rounded collection of nontoxic options over the years. Unfortunately, we are also living in the age of Zika, and so many questions arise regarding what works to prevent the virus, and if those measures are safe. Read on for my favorite natural options for everyday, and scroll to the bottom for more information on protecting yourself from Zika.
My favorite formula for little ones is Mighty Shield Bug Repellant Lotion by Babytime. The lotion consistency allows me to cover every teeny-tiny spot on Annabel, and she doesn’t have to hold her breath or close her eyes. It’s easily absorbed, and it smells like lemongrass, which is one of the active ingredients.
Badger makes some of my favorite child & baby products. They are made of high-quality, effective ingredients, they are totally Clean, and their price point is very budget-friendly. With 5% Citronella Essential Oil, Badger’s Anti-Bug Balm works like a charm. The stick formula makes it great to toss in any bag or pocket for travel, too. And, if you prefer a spray formula, Badger also makes that option.
Speaking of Badger, I also love their After-Bug Balm. When Annabel complains of the occasional bug bite, I apply this stick before nap or bedtime to keep her from scratching. At first, I thought maybe it was just a placebo effect, but I used it on myself recently, and the 10% colloidal oatmeal really is very soothing. Again, the stick formula makes it great for when on-the-go. This product smells faintly of peppermint.
My husband has taken Skincando’s Combat-Ready Bug Repellant on camping trips with great success. It was originally formulated as a DEET-Free option for U.S. Troops overseas, but it’s gentle enough for the whole family. (For little ones, I prefer to dispense spray formulas into my hands and rub the repellant into Annabel’s skin.) It repels mosquitos, sand fleas and other biting insects extremely well. This formula smells like a cross between citrus and citronella.
We’ve also had luck with Zoe Organics Insect Repellant. With ingredients like geranium, peppermint, clove and lavender essentials oils, this spray formula definitely smells the prettiest of the bunch. It’s what I bring with me if I’m going to be attending an outdoor cocktail party or wedding so I don’t smell like a citronella candle once I’m inside. I also love Zoe Organics Insect Repellant Candles. They are the perfect hostess gift for an outdoor party, and they smell great.
A Note on Conventional Bug Spray, Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus and Zika:
The brands above are perfect for the playing in the yard, attending a cook-out or taking a walk at dusk. However, if you are going to be in an area* where tick bites/Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus or Zika is an issue, The EWG recommends that you use a bug repellant with DEET (7-10%0), as essential oils alone are NOT going to protect you from these diseases/viruses. While I cringe at applying chemicals to my body or to that of my child, the risk of contracting these diseases/viruses is scarier than the occasional use of conventional bug repellant. Read the Enivironmental Working Group’s Guide to Bug Repellants for more information.
- *Most cases of Lyme Disease occur from Virginia to Maine and the upper Midwest, mostly Wisconsin and Minnesota (CDC 2013F). All cases of the Zika Virus in which the victim was directly infected by the Aedes mosquito have been found in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Miami, Florida.
- *Check out the Center for Disease Control’s West Nile Virus Map to see if you are at risk.
The whole reason we chose to travel to Bermuda in June was so that I wouldn’t have to think about Zika (while trying to get pregnant). Do you think that’s crazy? How worried are you about contracting one of these diseases or viruses?
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