Sun and bugs- What you need to know.
by Dr. Jacqueline Germain
SHOO FLY DON’T BOTHER ME
It’s summertime and along with the fragrant flowers and warmer days comes those bothersome insects. Every year, one third of the American population uses insect repellents containing DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) to ward off mosquitoes and other pests. Of the available bug repellant products on the market, DEET is used in amore than 200 products. DEET is a nasty chemical.
Studies have shown that it causes brain cell death and behavioral changes. Exposure causes neurons to die in parts of the brain that control muscle movement, learning, memory, and concentration. DEET should never be used on infants. There have been serious side effects reported when someone taking an antihistamine (common this time of year) sprays DEET on himself or herself.
Several years ago, studies found that an herb called lemon eucalyptus may be as effective as DEET. It is a harmless, pleasant smelling herb. It is safe for children and pets as well. Other essential oils derived from plants are also beneficial at warding off mosquitoes and other bugs. I have been using a product for several years that I spray on my dogs and myself before we go for a walk in the woods. With temperatures getting higher already, the number of spring bugs is already bothersome. The Center has repellant that is safe for you, your family and your pets.
BLOCKING THE SUN NATURALLY
The most natural sun protection comes in the form of clothing- a wide brimmed hat and a long sleeved shirt. This is not a very practical solution and certainly children racing outdoors to play in the sun will not want to comply. Like insect repellants, sunscreen can contain several ingredients that should be avoided. A common ingredient is Benzophenone-3, Homosalate Octyl Methoxycinnamate, 4 Methyl-benzylidene camphor (4-MBC), Ocryl-dimethyl-PABA. Who would want to even touch something with that name? It has been shown to cause cell growth in breast cancer cells. PABA causes burning, itching and other allergic reactions in many people. Recent reports link PABA to cellular damage that leads to cancer. Liver toxicity has also been reported.
The safest sunscreens contain Zinc oxide as the protectant against UVA and UVB. At The Center, we searched for natural sunscreen products that are free of chemicals but also order protection against UVA and UVB and provide nutrients that also keep skin healthy.
These are safe for adults and children alike so you can enjoy your fun in the sun these months ahead.