Friday, June 28, 2013

Super Secret Cheats: Tea Tree Oil as an Insect Repellant

"Tell me, Lisa, are the leeches still screaming?"
One of the most humorous memories of my own summer camp experience was "crawdad fishin'" at McNair Park in St. Charles, Missouri with, among other campers, my sister Lisa who is four years my junior. There, we all were happily turning over stones in Blanchette Creek, which winds through much of the town, when my little sister released a blood curdling scream, "LEEEEECCCCCHHHHH!"

Lisa had discovered, to her considerable dismay, that there, on her thigh, was a freshwater leech. You'd have thought a water moccasin had attached to her eyeball. A counselor or someone removed the leech and, after breathing into a paper bag for several minutes, Lisa regained her a little bit of her composure. I think she was finished crawdaddin', though.

The fact is, school is out and summer camps are in. That means your little campers will make their own life long memories. While's they're hiking, fishing, canoeing, or even crawdaddin', help to insure their experience is as enjoyable as possible by keeping summer pests, like mosquitoes, chiggers, black flies, and even lice and ticks. None of these insects are a laughing matter, especially considering deer ticks spread Lyme disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control's "Lyme Disease Data," in 2011, "96% of Lyme disease cases were reported from 13 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Lyme disease is the most commonly vectorborne illness in the United States . . . (and) was the 6th most commonly Nationally Notifiable disease."


Tea Tree Oil
While I take a multi-pronged approach to personal pest repellents, the tool I have found to be among the most effective has been tea tree oil. The Empire State Lyme Disease Association suggests tea tree oil is an effective tick repellent, while according to WebMD's article, "Tea Tree Oil," evidence is allusive to the benefits of tea tree oil for lice.

True story. When one of the Beautiful Daughters was in first or second grade, her elementary school experienced a sort of lice epidemic. At the table where my daughter was one of four students, the other three children had lice. She didn't.

I use tea tree oil only sparingly by adding four of five drops to a full bottle of shampoo and gently shake the bottle. During the summer and early fall months, the whole family uses the spiked shampoo, which, I believe, has helped us avoid or, at least, minimize the unpleasant and unhealthy effects of insect pests.

A note of caution, using tea tree oil in conjunction with lavender oil could potentially result in negative, unintended consequences for boys. According to WebMD, "Applying products to the skin that contain tea tree oil along with lavender oil might not be safe for young boys who have not yet reached puberty. These products might have hormone effects that could disrupt the normal hormones in a boy’s body." Of course, before using any supplement, topical solution, or treatment, consult your own physician or pediatrician.

1 comment:

Herryponting said...

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