Mention DEET in a crowded room full of parents, and you’re likely to hear a chorus of conflicting opinions.
From “It’s the best thing since sliced bread” to discussing its toxicity and health implications, the insect-repelling chemical is one that comes with a whole lot of controversy... and it’s easy to see why.
DEET is one of the most powerful bug repellents, but recent research shows that it may trigger toxic side effects and cause adverse reactions like skin irritation like redness, rash, swelling, and hives.
For us parents, there’s arguably nothing worse than watching our little ones struggle with uncomfortable boo-boos— especially the ones that itch. Mosquitoes may actually prove a more important role in the environment than we previously thought, but their bites can cause major itchy meltdowns for our little ones.
Sure, we could just cover and smother our babies in traditional bug spray jam-packed with chemicals like DEET, but seeing as there’s not a whole lot of long-term research to confirm its safety — we’d prefer to err on the side of caution.
To keep our tiny explorers safe and sound from itchy bites and icky chemicals, many parents are beginning to roll up their sleeves to make their very own homemade insect repellent compounds instead of using commercial bug sprays loaded with questionable ingredients.
And despite what you may think, you don’t need to be a mad scientist or have a background in potion brewing. If you’d like to learn how to make your own DIY mosquito repellent, all you have to do is keep reading — we’ll tell you everything you need to know.
But First, Why Is It So Important To Keep Mosquitos Away, Anyway?
Yes, mosquitoes are such an annoyance, but they can also spread diseases like Zika, Malaria, and more.
Ah, summer. The days are longer. The nights are crisp. And the smell of fresh-cut grass floats through the air while sprinklers rotate and crickets grind out their evening melodies.
Kids giggle and run amok with muddy feet and sticky hands from melting ice cream. And just before you feel as though you couldn’t possibly sink into the nostalgic moment any further, your happiness is quickly interrupted by a great big, “OUCH!”
Mother Nature’s most annoying pest and summer’s ruiner-of-fun, of all the critters on the planet, mosquitoes are without a doubt the worst. Not only is their signature buzz enough to drive even the most cool, calm, and collected parent into a state of craziness, but when mosquitoes bite our little ones, it often spells trouble.
What Is Skeeter Syndrome?
Really just a fancy-schmancy name for an allergic reaction to mosquito bites, skeeter syndrome is typically associated with an allergy to the proteins found in the insect’s saliva.
You see, when a mosquito bites your tiny tot’s sensitive skin, they inject some of their saliva to prevent blood clotting. Blood clotting is when proteins and plasma join forces to stop the flow of blood. When your blood doesn't clot, it enables mosquitoes to keep drinking.
Once the mosquito is full and happy, it will buzz away, leaving nothing behind but its saliva. This is when the body goes into action.
Your little one's immune system will quickly respond by releasing histamine to fight the foreign substance. It is this histamine that causes itchiness, inflammation, and swelling. For most of us, these are the common symptoms following a mosquito bite. For children who have skeeter syndrome, they tend to get it much worse.
Characterized by intense swelling, red lesions, and a low-grade fever, skeeter syndrome occurs in response to certain proteins in a mosquito's saliva — which most people build an immune response to. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense that skeeter syndrome is most prevalent in young kiddos who have had limited exposure to mosquitoes in their past.
Common Symptoms of Skeeter Syndrome
Think your child might have a mosquito allergy?
Keep an eye out for:
- Abnormal swelling, redness, or itchiness
- The bite site might be warm to the touch
- An extra-large lump forming at the area of the bite
- Small blisters may begin to form and spread to other parts of the body
While a cold ice pack and one of our amazing MagicPatches should provide sufficient itch relief in the event your little one does have skeeter syndrome, if you notice any breathing difficulties — contact a pediatrician as soon as possible.
Severe cases are pretty rare, but for those who are highly allergic to mosquito bites, they can go into anaphylactic shock. This is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention.
How Do You Make a Natural DIY Mosquito Repellent?
All parents can probably agree that itchy bug bites and kids don’t mix. If us parents have a tricky time avoiding scratching, then our kids have an even more difficult time with impulse control when it comes to bug bites.
Thankfully, with a few clean, all-natural ingredients, you can whip a homemade mosquito repellent recipe to protect your favorite mini human from the pesky bugs lurking outside.
To protect your home, try burning citronella candles or ones that give off the smell of lavender so protection with power and none of the gross bug-spray smells.
Natural Mosquito Prevention from Nature Herself
While we’re serious about protecting our kiddos from mosquito bites, we don’t want to use dubious chemicals like DEET to do it. As mentioned a little earlier, the chemical has quite a bit of controversy with mixed results when it comes to safety.
That being said, until more research is done on DEET and its long-term effects on children, we’ll gladly stick with our DIY natural mosquito repellent.
So, how does one make a homemade mosquito repellent, you ask? There are many different ways to make an all-natural bug spray that can effectively repel mosquitoes, but we suggest using citronella oil.
Why? Because with the right formulation of citronella, the powerful essential oil has shown to be just as effective at warding off hungry mosquitoes as DEET.
Essential oils don't just ward off mosquitoes, but oils like cinnamon oil can even kill mosquito eggs.
And the best part? Unlike DEET, citronella is perfectly safe for kids and the environment.
To use citronella in your homemade mosquito spray, we suggest mixing equal parts water with witch hazel before adding in around 30 drops of citronella oil and roughly ten drops of lavender.
Mix all the ingredients together and pour the mixture into an empty spray bottle, preferably made of dark glass.
To dilute the bug repellant for optimal skin safety, add in some olive oil or coconut oil as a carrier oil.
Shake well before applying and spray your little buddy in a well-ventilated area just before heading outside.
Other Oil and Repellant Options
If your little one doesn't like the previous recipe, try these instead:
- Pair lemongrass with rosemary oil
- Lemon eucalyptus oil
- Tea tree oil
- Vanilla extract
- Apple cider vinegar
A Quick Note About Safety
As with anything (but especially with essential oils and definitely with kids) always test for possible reactions. Our little ones tend to have sensitive skin and may react adversely to your homemade mosquito repellent.
Test a small amount to the inside of your child’s wrist or elbow and of course, if you have any questions or concerns, consult your family doctor.
Home, Safe, Home
Don’t have time to put together an all-natural mosquito repellent? Never fear — The Natural Patch Co. is here to the rescue!
Designed with you and your precious little ones in mind, we created BuzzPatch as an all-natural way to keep the itchy mosquito bites far, far away.
Chemical-free and non-toxic, our patch material is made to hold the maximum amount of our unique, natural oil blend and release them in a consistent dose over eight hours. This ensures maximum repellency —simply by sticking an adorable sticker on your little one’s clothes.
Gone are the days of smelly sprays and sticky lotions. With BuzzPatch, you don't have to decide between exposing your kids to DEET or exposing them to mosquitoes. These are very unlike stinky commercial repellents that can sometimes cause headaches and dizziness.
Our powerful — yet gentle — kid-friendly essential oil blend gives off an undeniably pleasant smell that you and your family will love (and that hungry mosquitoes can’t stand!).
Ready to kick those itchy bites and icky chemicals from traditional bug sprays to the curb? Try making your own homemade mosquito repellent— or simply check us out today.