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Safe Mosquito Repellents

While the great outdoors have offered an escape from the pandemic for many of us (me included!), summer and fall weather increase the risk of mosquito and tick bites which might carry the risk of infections such as eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) or Lyme disease. Here are some tips on how to prevent bug bites for it is your first line of defense: 

Use a non-toxic mosquito repellent safely and appropriately. Many sprays on the market are toxic such as DEET. Thankfully there are some good alternatives I recommend which contain the following key ingredients: 

Apply bug repellent on exposed skin and/or clothing as directed by the product label. 

Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants and possibly treat with permethrin, an insecticide.  If you do treat clothing with permethrin, make sure to also keep permethrin spray.  Keep still-wet treated items away from cats since permethrin is highly toxic to them; once dry, treated clothing should pose little risk.  

Avoid being in “high risk” between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Be sure to also avoid shady areas, which tend to attract mosquitoes—and their bites—during daytime hours. 

Take extra precautions for babies.  Since many bug repellants cannot be used under the age of 3 with tea tree oil being the exception, do cover a baby  carriage or playpen with mosquito netting.

If you want to sit on your deck, use a large electric fan—or, better yet, two—and sit in the breeze.  Mosquitoes cannot fly against the wind. Citronella candles will not prevent mosquitoes from finding you. There are some vaporizing insecticides that are being sold; theoretically they will work, but these have not been scientifically tested and are EXTREMELY toxic.

Get rid of all sources of standing water outdoors. Turn over or empty containers where water may collect, from ceramic pots, to barrels and recycling bins, to pool covers. Clean clogged roof gutters and litter debris from along curbs to let storm-water drain.

Fix holes in screens. Make sure they are tightly attached to doors and windows.

Do continue to be mindful of the ways you can continue to protect yourself and your loved ones outdoors from both bug bites and coronavirus infections. 

Dr. Bhandari and the Advanced Health Team Are Here to Support Your Health.

Our expert team of integrative holistic practitioners work with patients suffering from chronic health concerns.  We help our patients reverse disease by better understanding how the body optimally functions and providing personalized treatment plans. To learn more and book an appointment, contact Advanced Health or call 1-415-506-9393.



Herman, A. O. (2020). "Unusually High Number of EEE Cases in 2019 Detailed." NEJM Journal Watch. Retrieved from:

Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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