HomeHealth articlesinsect biteWhat Are the Use and Benefits of Insect Bite Repellents?

Use and Benefits of Insect Bite Repellents

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Using insect repellents is crucial for avoiding itchy or painful bug bites and diseases that insects transmit. Read the article below.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Nagaraj

Published At March 13, 2023
Reviewed AtMarch 13, 2023


The use of insect repellents is crucial for avoiding itchy or painful bug bites and diseases that insects transmit. N, N-diethyl-3-methyl benzamide (DEET), applied to exposed skin, and permethrin, applied to clothing, are the two most popular and efficient products. When used as directed, both are secure. Other repellents, such as a range of plant-derived goods, have also been utilized, although their effects often need to be more substantial or long-lasting.

Millions of people travel to nations with malaria and other mosquito-borne (diseases spread by mosquitoes) every year. In some situations, these illnesses might result in fatalities and severe illness. It is crucial to avoid mosquito-borne diseases if people want to stay healthy while traveling.

How Important Is an Insect Repellent When People Travel to an Area With Mosquito-Borne Disease?

Using an insect repellent will aid in preventing exposure to mosquitoes that transmit diseases, including dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and malaria. Anyone can use insect repellent on their skin and clothing to prevent insects.

The physician might also advise taking a malaria prevention pill (antimalarial drug) to prevent the disease. However, they are only minimally effective. This is why everyone needs to apply insect repellent and take other precautions to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.

How Safe Is It to Use Insect Repellent?

Before they can be sold in stores, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must register the majority of insect repellents that can be used topically. When an insect repellent is registered with the EPA, it has undergone human safety testing and is reliable when used as directed on the label. Check for the EPA clearance on the title before purchasing an insect repellent.

What Are Some Natural Ingredients That Are Used as Insect Repellents?

Mosquitoes typically attack people because of fragrance, light, heat, and humidity. People have itchy, rough skin if they attract mosquitoes. The following natural compounds can be utilized as insect repellent:

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil: It is one of the more well-known natural repellents that has been in use since the 1940s. Eucalyptus oil is a mosquito-repellent component that has received approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A study found that a blend of 32 percent lemon eucalyptus oil offered more than 95 percent protection from mosquitoes for three hours. People can make their concoction with one part lemon eucalyptus oil and ten parts sunflower oil or witch hazel. Researchers advise against administering the cocktail to children younger than three.

Lavender: Mosquito-repelling oil and aroma are produced when lavender blossoms are crushed. In research on animals, on hairless mice, lavender oil effectively deters adult mosquitoes. Additionally, lavender also has analgesic, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. This indicates that it can soothe and calm the skin and avoid mosquito bites. Lavender can be grown indoors or outside in containers. Apply the oil to the bite-prone parts of the body, such as on ankles and arms, after crushing the flowers. Add lavender oil to the skin by dropping some on a clean cloth.

Cinnamon Oil: Cinnamon is more than just a delicious addition to oatmeal or apple sauce. A study claims that cinnamon oil can eradicate mosquito eggs. Additionally, it can serve as a deterrent for adult mosquitoes, notably the Asian tiger mosquito. For every four ounces of water, add 1/4 teaspoon (or 24 drops) of oil to get a diluted one percent solution. The fluid can be sprayed around the house, furniture, plants, and even the skin or clothing. Applying concentrated amounts of cinnamon oil can irritate the skin, so use caution.

Thyme Oil: It is one of the most effective deterrents for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. One of the animal studies found that 91 percent of hairless mice were protected when five percent of thyme oil was administered to their skin. According to research, burning thyme leaves provides 85 percent protection for 60 to 90 minutes. In a handcrafted brew, four drops of thyme oil should be added for every teaspoon of base oil, such as olive or jojoba oil. Five drops of thyme oil should be added to two ounces of water to make a spray.

Greek Catmint Oil: Nepeta parnassica, a plant in the same mint family as catnip, can repel mosquitoes. The white and pink blossoms can reach a height of 18 inches. However, the most valuable parts are the extract and oil from the damaged leaves. According to a study, the plant's oil can efficiently repel mosquitoes for two to three hours. Researchers discovered that catnip is ten times more effective at keeping mosquitoes away than DEET.

Soybean Oil: According to studies, soybean oil products, such as bite block kids, which contain two percent soybean oil, might offer reliable mosquito defense. One can add a little lemongrass oil to the homemade combination in addition to the soybean oil. Various mosquito species have been tested to be protected by the cross.

Citronella: It is an essential oil commonly used in nature that repels mosquitoes. It is a common element in insect repellents and is made from a combination of herbs. Citronella candles can offer up to 50 percent more protection when used outside. According to research, citronella's potency depends on how it is made. When the product is prepared correctly, it can provide protection for up to two hours and is just as effective as DEET. Citronella can quickly evaporate if the formula is incorrect.

How to Put an Insect Repellent on a Child?

The following steps should be taken care of:

  • Comply with the label's instructions.

  • Follow the instructions on the instructions page to use an insect repellent.

  • Do not apply more DEET than 30 percent to a child.

  • Young children under three should not use insect repellent containing lemon eucalyptus.

What Are the Preventive Measures for the Insect Bite?

The following are some preventive measures:

  • Put on a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and a hat when outside.

  • For added protection, spray insect repellent on clothing, or buy a permethrin-treated product to treat clothing and a bed net to keep insects away.

  • Sleep in a room with good ventilation, air conditioning, or a bed net coated with permethrin. This is because nighttime is when most malarial mosquitoes bite.

  • When biting mosquitoes are most active, stay inside.


Repellants should only be applied to exposed flesh and clothing. Apply sparingly around the ears and avoid getting any on your eyes or lips. Avoid spraying directly into the face while using sprays.

Frequently Asked Questions


How Can One Repel Insects From Biting?

Insect repellents will help repel insects from biting an individual. Lavender, cinnamon oil, thyme oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, and other ingredients will be added to an insect repellent to improve its properties. In addition, wearing full-sleeved clothing and using mosquito nets will also be helpful.


Which Insects Cause Mosquito-Like Bites?

Bed bug bites appear similar to mosquito bites. Bed bug bites will be more itchy than other insect bites, and the skin may turn bumpy and reddened, identical to mosquito-like bites. The bites may not be evident immediately and may take about 14 days to show on the skin.


What Are the Home Remedies for Insect Bites?

Apply ice or a cloth or a packet filled with ice on the affected area to decrease swelling and pain on the affected area. Herbal remedies for insect bite contains aloe vera, and applying natural aloe vera gel is an effective remedy for insect bites. 


What Is the Most Effective Remedy for Insect Bites?

The affected area should be washed with soap and water. Applying ice or a cloth or packet filled with ice on the affected area for a few minutes is the best remedy to relieve swelling and reddening. The person should take care by not scratching the affected area.


How Can Ayurveda Treat Insect Bites?

Insect bites can be treated with the help of Ayurveda medicines. Medicines containing aloe vera, basil leaves, and turmeric prevent the worsening of the condition. Turmeric is an antiseptic agent that reduces the chances of wound infection. Neem-containing ayurvedic medicines are also found useful.


Can Turmeric Treat Insect Bites?

Turmeric is an antiseptic agent readily available at home. It has been found that turmeric is effective in treating insect bites. Applying turmeric will also prevent the worsening of the wound and decrease the chances of getting infected. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.


How to Prevent Mosquito Bites Permanently?

Wearing well-covered clothes will help prevent mosquito bites. Applying insect repellents topically is an effective method. Using mosquito nets and applying Ayurvedic topical medication containing eucalyptus and other essential oils are also effective.


Can Aloe Vera Treat for Insect Bites?

Aloe vera is a natural antiseptic agent. Aloe vera gel contains minerals and vitamins that reduce itching, swelling, and pain associated with insect bites. Aloe vera gel or medicines containing aloe vera gel helps heal the insect bite faster.


What Smell Does Bugs Dislike?

Certain smells like that of thyme, basil, rosemary, and mint are hated by mosquitos and bugs. Scents from essential oils of lavender, clove, eucalyptus, lemongrass, rosemary, and peppermint are also disliked by the insects and help repel them.


Can Coconut Oil Help Prevent Mosquito Bites?

Topical application of coconut oil in high concentration helps protect from mosquito bites. The fatty acids present in coconut oil give it the insect repellent properties. Applying coconut oil also prevents itching after insect bites by moisturizing the skin. 


Does Camphor Repel Mosquitoes?

The strong smell emitted from camphor repels mosquitoes. Lighting camphor in a closed room or using a camphor tablet in a water bowl helps keep mosquitoes away from the house. The camphor tablet should be replaced every two to three days. 


Does Bug Bites Last Longer?

Insect or bug bites will fade away independently in most cases. The skin signs may take a couple of days to disappear completely. In some cases, it may persist for two or more weeks. Painful bites can be managed by taking over-the-counter medicines and applying ice.


How to Know if a Bite Is Serious?

The person may experience severe pain and significant swelling in serious insect bites. The symptoms may persist for a prolonged period. The bite may lead to shortness of breath, dizziness, and other conditions in some cases. In such cases, the patient should seek immediate medical attention.
Dr. Nagaraj
Dr. Nagaraj



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