In a previous Great NEWS blog titled Bug Bites are Bad News we covered basic first aid for bug bites and stinging insects and this post on safe and simple non toxic natural prevention and protection strategies is Bug Bites – Natural Prevention and Protection. Any place one lives or travels has biting bugs which can cause disease, disability and even death. Being prepared to prevent bug bites and treat them promptly with appropriate first aid can be the difference between a major medical emergency and a minor nuisance. Bug Bites – Natural Prevention and Protection is shared to offer simple solutions, strategies and suggestions regarding natural prevention and protection against nuisance bug bites and the complications they can cause.
While hiking in Costa Rica and Panama I received numerous bug bites and even had a severe allergic reaction after being bitten by a black water beetle which caused quite a bit of pain, swelling and tissue damage. Even five weeks after the black beetle bite my hand did not look fully normal and totally recovered. After writing about this humbling experience in Bug Bites are Bad News dedicated to help caution and warn others of the serious risks and simple treatments for bug bites and insect stings it occurred to me that not enough information was offered on simple suggestions for natural prevention and protection from biting bugs.
Rather than focus mainly on dealing with the consequences of bugs bites it is important to provide specific suggestions on natural prevention and protection from being bitten in the first place. The number of bug bites and the consequences from the bites received are a direct result of my actions and my failure to take action. This is a subject which I have written about many times before. Everything we do or fail to do has consequences. Yikes this life lesson was learned the hard way once again! More awareness and focus on prevention and protection from bug bites could have helped me avoid the majority of discomfort, irritation, pain, stress and worry the black beetle bite caused me to endure.
Bug Bites are Bad News
After being bitten by the black water beetle and suffering several days of aches, fever, pain and swelling an epiphany occurred regarding my bad bug bite and the importance of being prepared and being proactive with effective and prompt first aid treatment. Another epiphany occurred after I wrote the article and was bitten by chiggers while in Panama. Have you ever felt like a slow learner when the same warning sign comes back to you in different versions until you finally get the message?
Doing research on biting beetles uncovered many articles warning about the multitude of diseases, infections, problems and deaths caused by common bug bites. Most people are unaware, uneducated and unprepared for the many hazards and health risks from bug bites which can inflict harmful poisons and pathogens such as bacteria, fungus, molds, parasites, protozoa, and virus. This information is essential for every student in school to learn because it truly is a is life skill that can save your life.
There are a wide range of debilitating, disabling and deadly diseases transmitted from bug bites such as: Babesiosis, Chagas disease, Dengue fever, Encephalitis, Leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, Malaria, Plague, Rocky Mountain tick fever, Typhus, West Nile disease and Yellow fever.
The bad bug bite from the black beetle was a very humbling experience because I know better and even write articles and blogs about always being prepared and having a great first aid kit with you for natural remedies and treatments. In spite of having my first aid kit close by and understanding the importance of prompt first aid treatment by failing to take prompt action my dumb decision ruined part of my trip and caused me to suffered significant consequences for many weeks with a painful, peeling, pink and puffy hand.
During my trip to Panama two weeks after my black beetle bite numerous chiggers decided to feast on me while walking in tall grass looking at lots in a residential development. This served as my third reminder to focus more on avoiding being bitten and write a detailed blog post on natural prevention and protection from bug bites.
The chiggers bit my legs and caused welts because I failed to use prevention techniques and to take a shower with soap and apply tea tree oil after walking in the tall grass. Waiting until the next morning gave them more time to feast on me. What was I thinking? Obviously not thinking clearly enough about prevention and protection. Most likely my thinking was still being affected by the previous black beetle bite to my hand.
Since most people today have very little awareness of the hazards of bug bites this blog is dedicated to educating and empowering readers with safe and simple suggestions for natural prevention and protection from bug bites. Here is sample of the bug bites you could encounter which result in serious complications, concerns and costs: Bed bugs, chiggers, fleas, flies, gnats, horse flies, kissing bugs, lice, mites, mosquitoes, no-see-ums, sand fleas, sand flies and ticks. One doctor in the US has hypothesized that any bug bite could potentially transmit Lyme disease. Consider the serious consequences to the health and well being of humans if this concern turns out to be true. Lyme disease is found in many parts of the world and causing significant problems for many people when it is even properly diagnosed.
Whether you are a back packer, business or vacation traveler or living in a suburban or urban setting these suggestions will help you be more aware, informed and prepared for the local bugs which may bite you. Once you do a little research yourself you will discover you cannot afford to leave your health and well being to lady luck. Every year people are being disfigured, disabled and dying from bug bites and insect stings.
Some people have told me these posts are overly dramatic since most people are close to medical treatment and not really that likely to be harmed by the typical bug bites. When you consider the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates hundreds of millions of people get malaria from mosquito bites and over 600,000 people die you begin to see how serious bug bites are. Another source said over one million die of malaria each year. Therefore natural prevention and protection from bug bites is a key life skill to develop. Avoiding biting bugs wherever in the world you live or travel may be one of the most important things you can do for your long term health and longevity.
Many articles and websites discuss the numerous diseases and infections caused by the pathogens (potentially deadly bacteria, fungus, molds, parasites, protozoa and virus) which can result from bug bites. Every year they cause significant levels of disease and death around the world so this is an essential subject to be taught to all adults and children as part of their health and wellness education.
Stop Breeding and Feeding Bugs
It may seem obvious but many people unknowing create conditions that increase the risk of being bitten by fleas, mosquitoes, ticks and other biting bugs. We cannot eliminate bugs from our surroundings since they are an integral part of Mother Nature. We can however prevent the unhealthy breeding of biting bugs in our homes and yards by using common sense and natural solutions.
Be sure to prevent breeding mosquitoes by emptying standing water from containers. Standing water gives mosquitoes a place to lay eggs and hatch more mosquitoes so eliminate these places from your vicinity. Changing the topography of land and interfering with water drainage can also increase breeding zones for mosquitoes. Mosquito netting around beds and screens on windows can also reduce the risk of mosquito bites. When you are bitten by female mosquitoes they can complete the life cycle and lay eggs creating more mosquitoes. Stop breeding and feeding mosquitoes.
In many parts of the world biting bed bugs and mites are a real problem. One of the keys to prevention is properly washing bed linens. Sun drying saves electricity and sanitizes linens. Be sure you also clean and sun sanitize bedding covers, mattress and pillows outdoors regularly. This was a common practice in the past but has become less common in modern times.
Lice are another problem that can easily spread among people especially children. Maintaining personal hygiene and avoiding contaminated clothing are important.
Flies have been known to carry pathogens that cause cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid fever and other diseases.
Fleas and ticks can be a real nuisance and risk. Check your pets regularly to be sure you are not breeding these parasites. Diatomaceous eath has been found to be effective and safe for pets, people and yards to get rid of pests.
Natural mosquito predators such as bats, dragon flies, martins, lizards and tree frogs are great for eating them. Bats, birds, predator insects and plants are some of the best ways to keep insect populations under control so be sure to create a harmonious ecosystem and avoid using toxic insecticides that actually make the problem worse. When challenged by bugs look for a natural and safe suggestion first. Chickens happen to be great for eating many bugs so let’s look for other ways to let Mother Nature solve our challenges in a safe and natural way. Bug zappers are also a way to help eliminate blood sucking mosquitoes and other annoying biting bugs.
Citronella, Lavender, Neem and Tea Tree essential oil have been found to help repel biting bugs. Citronella, neem trees and other plants are also effective repellents.
Natural Prevention and Protection from Biting Bugs
Wash with water and natural castille soap such as Dr. Bronners with essential oils before going outdoors. Many bugs and especially mosquitoes seems to be attracted to the smells and sweat associated with humans.
Avoid using after shaves, colognes, perfumes, scented gels and soaps that could attract biting bugs.
When going outdoors where bugs are suspected to be a nuisance consider wearing a hat, long pants, long sleeve shirt, shoes and socks plus a natural bug repellent instead of bathing suit, shorts, t-shirt, flip flops or sandals while in higher risk areas. (tall grass, vines and weeds can causes cuts and scrapes which attract biting bugs and invites infections).
Making natural insect repellent with a combination of natural essential oils is easy to do. One formula recommends Citronella, Cedarwood, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lemon Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Peppermint and Wintergreen. Add several drops of each to a small spray bottle with a little water added to it. Using neem oil and tea tree oil was a quick fix and seemed to work very well to prevent chigger bites in Panama. This way essential oils in your first aid kit can also serve for prevention. Lavender and neem oil have also been recommended. Some friends from Fiji and India say that neem trees planted by houses repel bugs so neem oil seems to do the same thing and only costs a few dollars for several ounces.
After walking in grass or weeds consider soaking at the beach or in a tub of water with baking soda, calcium bentonite clay, epsom salts or vinegar to help get rid of tiny biting bugs.
Washing with a pure castille soap such as Dr Bronners with essential oils in it such as lavender, oregano, peppermint or tea tree oil at your earliest convenience is helpful. Check yourself and treat your skin for any bug bites, chiggers, cuts, fleas, ticks or scrapes which could be an open invitation for trouble. Neen oil, Oregano oil, Peppermint oil and Tea tree oil appear to be some of the best essential oils to use on your skin for eliminating bugs and preventing infections.
Days after the chigger bites occurred we had plans to walk on another property for several hours. This time my mind was thinking clearly because the annoying bug bite welts were an annoying reminder. The first prevention step was applying tea tree oil to each bug bite site. Next neem oil was dabbed on my ankles, calf’s, thighs and groin for prevention and protection. It worked like a charm since even after two hours of walking in tall brush and grass no new chigger bites appeared on my legs. Yes proof positive this combination works
While many commercials and websites promote insect repellents with DEET it is important to understand how toxic this chemical is and the damage it can cause. While bug bites do pose a potential high risk, DEET may be even a higher risk for causing harm to your health.
Treating Bug Bites Naturally
Baking soda, Epsom salt or Sea salt mixed with water or ocean water can be used to clean the site.
Until you have clean water and soap available use diluted alcohol (vodka), hydrogen peroxide, iodine, rubbing alcohol swabs or witch hazel.
Additional substances to cleanse and disinfect the bug bites include: clove oil, eucalyptus oil, frankincense oil, myrrh oil, neem oil, oregano oil, raw garlic and Tea tree oil
You can also twist a lemon, lime or orange peel to extract the essential oils onto the bug bite. Vitamin C dissolved in water has also been recommended
After cleaning the bug bite site and treating with a disinfectant it is important to use calcium bentonite clay as soon as possible to help draw out and neutralize as much of the poison, secretions, toxin or venom as possible.
If some cold water, cold pack or ice is available it may also help reduce the swelling while you are treating the bite site.
After the calcium bentonite clay gel has dried and been on for 30 minutes wash it off and reapply one of the listed cleansing compounds for 3 to 5 minutes then reapply the clay gel.
If you have an antihistamine dissolve it in a small amount of water and soak the bug bite to reduce inflammation. Some people may consider taking one internally instead. There are also several plants that seem to naturally act as an anti-inflammatory such as aloe vera.
Continue the cleaning process and clay at least two times to maximize therapeutic benefits and minimize risk of disease and infection.
Apply holistic first aid, natural remedies or seek medical treatment as soon as possible after bug bites or insect stings for best results.
Use a combination of aloe vera, coconut oil, essential oils and neem oil for several days following bug bites and insect stings also seems to help the skin and tissue heal more rapidly.
Life and Limb in Danger
If you, a family member or friend experienced a bug bite and a bacteria or parasite enters the body it could put ones health, life and limb at risk. Several family members and friends have experienced serious and expensive problems resulting from bug bites that may have been avoided with natural prevention and protection. My niece had malaria while in Uganda. I had tick fever in college and the black beetle bite in Costa Rica to deal with. My wife had a spider bite that was extremely painful and required medical treatment.
A woman acquaintance has been diagnosed with Lyme disease and has severe health challenges. A doctor has hypothesized that any biting insect can carry the pathogen for Lyme disease. We must learn to be proactive to prevent bug bites to the degree possible to avoid serious health risks. This is much more cost effective than treating them after the fact. Each and every bug bite and insect sting must be considered a potential serious risk to your life and limb.
A friend of mine hiking in Spain had a blister or bug bite became infected with an antibiotic resistant flesh eating bacteria causing a life threatening condition. Doctors discussed amputating her foot to save her life for several days. After removing enough flesh to save her foot they performed plastic surgery to graft skin from her thigh to her foot. Besides being a frightening experience and costing tens of thousands of Euros the stress and trauma she and her family and friends endured plus is a life lesson in how a simple situation can escalate into a life threatening trauma. Flesh eating bacteria have been identified in more than sixty countries. Can you afford to risk tens of thousands of dollars plus your life or limbs because of a bug bite or insect sting?
Natural prevention and protection from bug bites is your first line of defense to avoid the potential problems created by bug bites and the bacteria, parasites, pathogens and toxins they carry. Your second line of defense is having using a well stocked first aid kit and knowing how to use it. Alcohol swabs, baking soda, bandages, calcium bentonite clay, clove oil, colloidal silver, gauze pads, gloves, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, tea tree oil, neem oil, oregano oil, scissors, sling, tape, topical antihistamine, tweezers, Vitamin C tablets and witch hazel. It is essential to have basic first aid kits and books available and learn and practice first aid.
We know that an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure and much more can be done to maximize prevention and protection from bug bites and potential harmful consequences. How vital is this topic if bug bites are causing the death of over half a million people each year? Another reference says more than a million people die due to bug bites.
In a previous post the Great NEWS blog shared Bug Bites are Bad News and this week the Great NEWS blog shares Bug Bites – Natural Prevention and Protection. It is up to you to learn to be prepared to deal with bugs, insects, parasites, pathogens and spiders wherever in the world you live or travel. What you learn today could one day be the most important information of your life. Prevention is your first line of protection. When you or a family member or friend suffers a bug bite or insect sting treat it as a serious risk to your health and life. If you are bitten you must be your own “first responder” and provide appropriate first aid. This Great NEWS blog post on Bug Bites – Natural Prevention and Protection offers you a wealth of helpful information to avoid the serious risks from bad bug bites.
Mastery Action Plan
Identify the biting bugs, spiders and stinging insects where you live or plan to travel. Create a digital and printed bug bites prevention and protection check list. Store the digital version on your contact list, computer, ipod, phone or similar device. Prepare a prevention kit and first aid kit with a printed checklist for various conditions you may encounter. These must be easily accessible in your back pack, car, home or suitcase when traveling. Review and revise the procedures and products to keep current and updated. Learn more about amazing neem products at: http://organixsouth.com/info/index.php/resources/customer-resources/our-sustainability-philanthropic-actions/the-organix-south-difference-video
Call to Action
What comments, commitments, questions or suggestions do you have regarding natural prevention and protection regarding bug bites?
Next week the Great NEWS blog will share: Boomer Fitness & Exercise for Endurance, Energy and Enjoyment
Michael, great article. I have a friend who is going to South America for about 6 months. He has never been there before and I think he’ll benefit from this article. Got to be prepared. Thanks
Erica be sure your friend has a well stocked first aid kit and understands basic first aid. I posted a blog on First aid and Be Prepared to help travelers.