What are mosquito repellents?

In basic terms, a mosquito repellent is any natural or synthetically manufactured compound, which compels mosquitoes to direct themselves away from the source of the applied repellent. These repellents prevent us from getting mosquito bites, by keeping them away from us. Mosquitoes are the primary causative factor for life-threatening illnesses like dengue, malaria, chikungunya and encephalitis. Hence, mosquito repellents are crucially required, for the prevention of such diseases and maintenance of hygiene.

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Common repellents used

Primarily, chemical repellents are used. The most common chemicals used in these repellents are N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide, which is dermatologically applied, and permethrin, which is applied to garments.

Disadvantages of chemical repellents

Though most of these chemical repellents have been tested as safe, some individuals may respond exceptionally. There have been a few cases, reporting adverse reactions from prolonged exposure to deet. There have been reported incidents of behavioural changes, ataxia, encephalopathy, seizures and coma, in children and toddlers. There have also been situations of insomnia, irritability and state of confusion, due to repeated exposures.

Though most of these products are tolerated well by many, there is always a risk involved, when used repeatedly, especially if pregnant women and children are present in the household. For these reasons, there has been a more significant trend of usage of herbal repellents in Indian households.

Examples of herbal and natural mosquito repellents:

  •    Lemon eucalyptus oil- This natural ingredient has the capability of protecting you from mosquitoes for two to three hours.
  •    Lavender oil- It has a fragrance to repel the adult mosquitoes.
  •    Cinnamon oil- It helps in killing up the eggs of mosquitoes
  •    Thyme oil- Its mosquito repelling capacity enables you to have 91% protection. For homemade mosquito repellents, you may add it.
  •    Greek catnip oil- Pink and white coloured flowers produce oil to repel the mosquitoes.
  •    Soya bean oil- Get the mosquito protection for long hours.
  •    Peppermint oil- Crush the leaves of peppermint and get the oil from them to remove the mosquitoes and annoying insects.
  •    Lemon peels- For the DIY solution, you can rub the peels on the skin. The lemony scent prevents the access of mosquitoes.
  •    Crushed mint- The aromatic properties of mint help in repelling mosquitoes and various other insects.
  •    Cucumber slices- You have to spread the slices of cucumbers at different spots of your house.

Benefits of using herbal mosquito repellents:

  •    Natural repellents do not contain chemicals like deet, which may cause adverse reactions in children, women and sensitive individuals. Since deet can itself be toxic and also combine with other compounds to form more toxic materials, the safest option is to avoid altogether using repellents containing this chemical.
  •    Certain herbal repellents like soy-based products, and those containing lemon eucalyptus oil, have been proven to provide a longer more effective protection against mosquitoes, as compared to their deet counterparts.
  •     Chemical repellents, along with deet, also contain other harmful synthetic additives like parabens, petroleum and phthalates, which may be irritable to individuals who have sensitive skin or intolerances. Natural and herbal repellents are free from these additives, and hence, sensitive skinned people can reap their benefits, without any allergic hassles.
  •    Synthetically manufactured repellents often have a strong, unpleasant smell, due to the host of chemicals present in them. Natural repellents have a pleasant smell and feel less irritable when applied or sprayed.
  •    Herbal mosquito repellents also have other benefits, in addition to just repelling mosquitoes, due to the presence of their natural and herbal oils and components. For example, peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil, also have natural relaxing and energising properties, which induce relaxation to the body and improve mental concentration.
  •    Herbal mosquito repellents apart from abiding the mosquitoes can also benefit you by giving you protection from different kind of allergies. Also, these repellents will make sure that your allergies never come back. This happens due to the presence of herbal products in those repellents.
  •    Compared to synthetic repellents, these herbal repellents stay in your system for a more extended period. Crushed beans, garlic, eucalyptus oil or Neem oil apart from being beneficial as mosquito repellents can also benefit you if you have a child or a pregnant woman in your house.

Continuous usage of Chemical repellents can cause many health-related issues. To avoid those, you must switch to herbal repellents, which works better and possess no danger. So, next time when you hear mosquitos singing near your ear, be sure to use an herbal repellent.

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