WHO has issued saying that 3 billion people are at risk of malaria and 1.2 of the 3 billion are at high risk. High-risk population is those people with poor access to healthcare, making diagnosis and treatment extremely difficult. With mosquitoes being harder and harder to control, prevention has become the primary line of defense against mosquito-borne diseases.Because of the controversy following the mosquito insecticide DEET, finding an alternative is of great importance.
Historically, eucalyptus oil has been used to treat a variety of conditions. Because of its soothing smell and cooling sensation, it is a popular home remedy. Modern medicine has discovered how Lemon eucalyptus oil can be used as a potent mosquito insecticide.
Eucalyptus Oil: The Science
A study conducted in Bolivia at 1996 found that eucalyptus-based insect repellent was able to actively protect the skin from Anopheles mosquito, type of mosquito that is responsible for transmitting malaria.
Furthermore, a study published in 2012 focused on Aedes egypti, type of a mosquito that is responsible for transmitting the dengue fever. Essential oils from a variety of eucalyptus plants were found to have larvicidal, adulticidal and fumigant characteristics.
Mosquito insecticide is a primary defense against malaria
Diethyltoluamide or DEET is the primary ingredient in most of the commercial mosquito insecticide.
DEET remains the standard by which all other repellents are judged and the product’s strength care vary from 10% to 100%, even though any concentration of over 50% should not be used on skin.
A 2002 study that compared eucalyptus to DEET showed that Eucalyptus scored 96.89 percent effectiveness, compared to DEET’s 84.81 percent against Anopheles mosquitoes.
A 2014 study revealed how lemon eucalyptus oil is as effective as DEET, greater than with a 32% solution of Lemon Eucalyptus Oil scoring 95 percent effectiveness – compared to a 40% solution of DEET’s 100 percent.
Filariasis is another mosquito-borne disease which is caused by Culex mosquitoes. Filariasis can cause blockages in the body’s lymphatic system, thus leading to the enlargement of different body parts. The results of a June 2014 study concluded that the nano emulsification of eucalyptus oil has larvicidal activity against the Culex genus.
Things that can be done to protect against mosquitoes
Illnesses like Dengue fever, malaria and West Nile Virus are widespread and often hit children hardest, or members of the population who have poor access to healthcare. Being prepared is one of the most important things if you are living in the tropics or other areas where mosquito-borne illnesses are common. Mosquito nets, insect repellents and even mosquito traps are a necessity.
You can take eucalyptus oil and mix it with few drops of scent free lotion to make a natural insect repellent. Apply it on your skin every six hours to protect yourself from mosquito bites or even soothe any itching from bites you may have already gotten.
You can also apply the oil directly on any affected areas, but make sure to dilute it will a little bit of water before applying.