As we head into summer, we can look forward to warm weather, even longer days, cookouts with friends—and mosquitoes! If you’re tempted to use one of the chemical-laden bug sprays, think twice. Many contain DEET (diethyltoluamide), which may keep mosquitoes away but at a price: Its safety is questionable, especially for young children and older individuals.
Instead, here’s what I recommend as natural mosquito repellents:
- Take vitamin B1 (thiamine): There’s at least one study indicating that taking 100 mg of vitamin B1 a day can act as a natural mosquito repellent. Other studies have shown vitamin B1 reduces itching caused by bites. Consider adding enough vitamin B1 to what's in your multivitamin to equal 100 mg per day this summer.
- Cover up. When you go out in the evening, wear long sleeves and long pants, as well as socks. You may also want to stay indoors during the evening hours, when mosquitoes are out in droves.
- Use plant oils and extracts that act as natural mosquito repellents. These include citronella, cinnamon, rosemary, lemon eucalyptus, and peppermint. You can find these at most health food stores.
You can also help to keep the mosquito population down by removing any free-standing water in your yard. It only takes a tablespoon of water to breed a whole new crop of mosquitoes.