Insect Repellents Essay: There Effective and Safe Use


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The war against bugs, mosquitoes, ticks, and swarms of insects is quite irritating and bothersome. Insects buzzing around are annoying, especially during outdoor events, barbeque parties, and other summer events. Are we feasting on the barbeque, or are the swarms of insects eating on me! I dread summertime! Meanwhile, of all the insects, mosquitoes are pretty irritating. Apart from their bites, they carry severe infections like West Nile fever, encephalitis, and malaria. Research suggests that mosquitoes are hard to avoid since they can detect humans’ scent100 feet (30.5 meters) away [source: Cook]. Now you know why mosquitoes are everywhere!

Are there any effective means of repelling insects?

Insect repellants involve the combination of repelling substances that can be applied or sprayed to discourage arthropods and insects. Apart from brushing off bug bites and insect buzzes, insect repellants imperatively aid in controlling and preventing outbreaks for arthropods and insect-borne diseases such as dengue fever, Lyme diseases, West Nile fever, and bubonic plague, malaria, and encephalitis. Naturally, many plants have devised their mechanisms to repelling insects. Traditionally, humans used plants for their repellant properties. People used a combination of natural products that contained insect repellant substances to protect themselves. As contemporary humans we can harness such designs to create effective natural and synthetic insect repellents from multiple sources.

Fortunately, when it comes to insect repellants, we have piles of products:  natural insect repellants and chemical-based insect repellants are at our disposal. While most people use insect repellants, the concern has always been the effectiveness and health concerns of insect repellants. Most people are concerned with the underlying effects of insect repellants on their health. For instance, it is widely acknowledged that most commercialized insect repellants contain harmful chemicals to both adults and kids. For example, chemical insect repellants trigger skin, eye, and lungs reactions and allergies. In my case, I can ascertain that chemical-insect repellants have a severe respiratory effect on me.

On the other hand, do the Environmental Protection Agency-approved insect repellants work? Over time there have been concerns about some ingredients on EPA-approved insect repellants. Take, for instance, citronella as an ingredient that lasts for only a limited period.  Citronella candles have also been ineffective as an insect repellant. So the concern remains are there any effective means of repelling insects?

While insect repellants are unlimited in the selection, it’s crucial to consider several factors in choosing an insect repellant that is both effective and has minimal health effects. Of course, clothing provides the best repellant against insects, but much clothing wouldn’t seem the most appealing during summer. Another alternative would be to wear clothes that can repel insects, especially clothing that contains synthetic chemical permethrin. Other natural insect repellant alternatives that could be considered include eucalyptus oil, citronella, bay leaves, rosemary, peppermint oils, and vanillin. Lemon eucalyptus oil is approved by EPA, has minimal effects on the environment and health, unlike chemical-based products like N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) or picaridin (DEET), and is considered as the most effective of all plant-based products [source: Center for disease and control]

So far, chemical insect repellants that contain DEET are still the most common and effective, although their reputation about health concerns is quite disturbing. Research shows that prolonged exposure to DEET may result in insomnia, tremors, and shortness of breath, moodiness, and cognitive impairments [source: Peterson]. In any event, there is no standard effective insect repellant. Others prefer chemical-based insect repellant; it is okay. It’s their choice. As for me, given the eminent effect that chemical-based insect repellants have on me, I 100% tout for all-natural insect repellants.