Healthier alternatives to repelling mosquitoes, ticks and more

Eau Claire (WQOW) – Mosquitoes, fleas and ticks are not uncommon in our state.

To prevent the itch, most go toward bug repelents that have the chemical DEET. If you are allergic to DEET, there are alternatives to stop the bugs from biting. 

Natural oils from plants like rosemary, peppermint, thyme, lemongrass, cedar, and geranoil are proven to repell insects.  If allergic to any of those oils, there is another option, permethrin, which is not meant for the skin, but to be sprayed on top of clothing. There is also pre-treated permethrin clothing.

Matt Steinbach, environmental sciences division manager for Eau Claire City-County Health Department, said permethrin is 2,250 times more harmful to ticks than humans, and when its put directly on skin, it’s 1 percent absorbed in the body. DEET is over 20-times that rate.

"Anytime you’re outdoors you want to make sure you are putting forth methods to prevent insect bites, whether that’s mosquitoes or ticks. It’s very important because insects can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, West Nile virus, and those type of issues," said Steinbach.

The easiest way to avoid bug bites, is to stay away from areas with stagnant water, and for ticks, long grasses and wooded areas. If you go in those areas, wear long clothing, hats and socks.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has a list of mosquito repellents and more found here

Find a repellent that is right for you.

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