Using an insect repellent can help reduce your exposure to insects that carry disease. Repellents don't kill insects. Instead, they make people an unattractive food source for them. Repellents only work a short distance from the treated surface. Make sure any product you use indoors is labeled for indoor use.
Oil of Lemon Eucalpytus
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-menthane-3,8-diol) provides more protection than any other plant-based insect repellent. Studies show that oil of lemon eucalyptus protects against mosquitoes in a similar manner to repellents with low concentrations of DEET.
Other effective repellents are made from combinations of geranium oil, cedarwood, eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree oils and other plants. Some of these products can repel mosquitoes for two or three hours. However, other brands don't seem to have any effect at all.
Oil-based candles containing citronella, linalool or geraniol are used to repel mosquitoes and sand flies indoors. According to research reported by the University of Wisconsin, linalool and geraniol candles are better at repelling insects than citronella. The research found that the repellency rate of 5 percent citronella candles against mosquitoes was 29 percent, compared to 71.1 percent for 5 percent linalool candles and 85.4 percent for 5 percent geraniol candles.
- Mississippi State Department of Health: Mosquitoes and Disease -- What the Homeowner Can Do
- Baby Center: Using Mosquito Repellents
- University of Wisconsin: Integrated Mosquito Management -- Area Repellents
- PubMed: Indoor Protection Against Mosquito and Sand Fly Bites
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: West Nile Virus -- Questions and Answers
- Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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