[Update as of 2/4/2016: A Wall Street Journal article published on 2/2/16 has been brought to my attention. Its states, “the link between Zika and microcephaly hasn’t yet been scientifically proven, and many leading medical experts say it probably will take another six months of testing before such a link, if it exists, can be definitively confirmed. But a consensus is forming within the international medical community that there is a high probability of such a link.” Please take this into consideration as you read the following blog post.]
Today Reuters reported the first known case of Zika Virus transmission in the United States. It seems like only weeks ago we started hearing about this threat in Brazil and now it is already appearing in our country. For the foreseeable future it will be vital that every woman who is expecting or who may one day want to be pregnant take consistent precautions to minimize any chance of a mosquito bite.
Use of an effective mosquito repellent is the first and best line of defense for expecting Mom’s, breastfeeding Mom’s, and women who may one day become a Mom. Unfortunately most commercial mosquito repellants rely on DEET (N,N-ethyl-m-toluamide). Its use is advocated by the World Health Organization and other organizations such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as the most effective and well-studied repellant on the market.
However, women should also consider all effectiveness and safety factors when selecting a mosquito repellant. MotherToBaby.org offer a fact sheet on DEET that states “there have been reports of significant effects to the central nervous system among individuals who are sensitive to DEET (especially small children) or have been overexposed to DEET.” This is a HUGE concern when you consider that up to 10% of the DEET you spray on your body will be absorbed by the skin and enter your bloodstream. Once its in your blood it’s in your baby’s blood.
If you are an expecting mother or may one day be expecting I encourage you to consider using 4-Way Mosquito & Tick B-Gone. This all natural repellant uses a blend of three essential oils (Lemon Eucalyptus, Palmarosa, and Corn Mint) plus a potent botanical extract (Catnip) to deliver excellent protection.
The Lemon Eucalyptus delivers the highest concentration of Citronellol and Citronellal which the United States Environmental Protection Agency considers as a biopesticide with a non-toxic mode of action that repels mosquitoes, black flies, fleas, and ticks.
The Palmarosa contains the highest percentage of Geraniol, a naturally occurring, non-toxic chemical that was identified by researchers at the University of Florida as the single most effective natural mosquito repellent after 17 years of testing more than 4,000 compounds.
Catnip is a plant that researchers at Iowa State University found to be 10-Times more effective than DEET thanks to a compound in Catnip called nepetalactone.
The Zika Virus is seriously scary and will be for a long time (the WHO estimates 4 million people will be in fected across the Americas). Applying a repellent every single day – sometimes multiple times per day – for months at a time requires thoughtful weighing of risks and benefits. When it comes to women in my life I’m steering them away from DEET. Nature produces several effective repellants and that is the smarter, safer way to go.