Bug Repellent: B1 vs DEET vs Lemon Eucalyptus

allergic reaction to DEET
allergic reaction to DEET | Source

On of the mythical alternatives to using DEET is taking large does of the vitamin B1. The recommended dosage for an adult is 1.5 mg and there is urban legend that taking 50 to 300 mg will repel bugs.

The theory is that the excess unmetabolized Vitamin B1 will secrete through your pores while sweating will repel the bugs. Several studies have showed that B1 has no value to repel mosquitoes. If B1 actually worked then how come there is no B1 bug spray?

Using garlic as a repellent doesn't work but might repel certain humans who find the smell of garlic abhorrent. Lemon Eucalyptus does work somewhat but do not need to mix with vodka to used as a spray on.

Avon's skin so soft is such a persistent myth that Avon now has a DEET free Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Expedition SPF 30. If the original truly did work then why did Avon respond to the consumer demand with a separate line of bug guard? Although Avon's bug guard has no DEET, directions say not to exceed three applications per day

The new style of a 'clip-'on insect repellent with the batteries to run the fan works best if not moving and therefore useless to put on high energy children. It also can leave a bad taste in the mouth from the fumes.

Nothing works as well as the pesticide DEET, (dimethyl-meta-toluamide), but still has restrictions on not using it on children less than 3 years old. All DEET has a EPA number on the package for calling the pesticide poisoning center in a emergency. New York state bans any product that contains more than 30% DEET due to concerns of pesticide poisoning in children,

Repeated used of DEET can create a sensitization resulting in a rash of burning blisters that if get infected can cause permanent scars. The neurological damage of long term high concentration of DEET include headache, insomnia, mood swings, clumsiness, seizures or coma.

A person would have to choose the lesser of two evils when in a environment where West Nile virus, Dengue fever and malaria are prevalent.

Ary Type Insect Repellent 30% DEET Effectively Repels Mosquitoes, Black Flies, No See Ums, Deer Flies, Chiggers and Fleas
Ary Type Insect Repellent 30% DEET Effectively Repels Mosquitoes, Black Flies, No See Ums, Deer Flies, Chiggers and Fleas

Personal story that will make your skin crawl

This is the first time I had an allergic reaction to bug spray but I've never used so much as I did this year. After two years of drought and then the monsoon season of the Huachuca mountains on the Sonora border, the mosquito population exploded.

I have used Cutter DEET mosquito repellent more than I have ever did before on a daily basis for a month. At first I thought the bumps were from bug bites and then I would reapply more bug spray. A couple of times I lifted my arms and sprayed the back of my shoulders where mosquitoes would target. I ran out of the small bottle of Cutter brand 23% DEET repellent and refilled the tiny bottle with DEET army type 30% mosquito repellent.

I now know that with my personal experience and research, that I was doing everything wrong to repel mosquitoes.

  1. Wearing dark clothes.
  2. Spraying inside and breathing it in.
  3. Drinking beer.
  4. Applying underneath clothes than cover skin leaving in unexposed.
  5. Not showering and changing clothes when returning indoors.

I did everything wrong in using DEET that caused erythematous the medical term for inflamed red skin with burning blisters. I even had tiny bumps in the back of mouth that felt as is I gargled with fiberglass. Whatever you do - do not look up google images of acute erythematous, those pictures of cases a whole lot worse than mine made me feel how much worse it could've been.

Since I now know that I'm very sensitive to DEET and cannot use it on my skin anymore. What should I do if can't use the one product that out preforms all others for prolonged exposure to the mosquito infested outdoors? What am I to do? Wearing a burka is out of the question, but now I realize that the veil probably originated to keep bugs off and morphed into a modesty dress code for Muslims. I'm not going to sequester myself indoors in the Spring, Summer and Fall and I though of an idea.

The idea is to spray DEET on those little air fresheners pine trees that you hang in the car and attach them all over my clothing for protection but that would look crazy.

Once I'm over this severe rash I plan next time I hike in the woods to spray DEET on my hiking backpack, hat and shoes except the areas that make contact with my skin. Spraying ribbons with DEET and attaching these pennants onto my clothing may also be effective. I have already made a homemade mosquito netting from black lace to put on my face and attach and detach from my hat as needed.

My skin burst into splotchy itchy bumps and finally realized that I had an allergic reaction to DEET. I've tried soaking in Baking soda, cocoa butter lotion, aloe vera and none of that help. Antihistamine spray was not available at the store, so I took the pills for one day along with using baking soda as a lotion and aloe vera which both stung without any relief from the irritation.

DEET Rash Treatment

Wash first , remove DEET covered clothes but don't soak the tub with an entire box of baking soda like your grandmother told you nor Calamine or witch hazel because it will just dry out your skin and instead of a burning rash will have a stinging rash. Some say take a oatmeal bath, but I haven't tried that.

When I called the national hotline at 1-800-858-7378 they wanted to know the EPA number that is on all bottles that contain DEET. I couldn't find the bottle and told him I would call back. he said to call back the regional number 1-800-222-1222 who didn't want the EPA number.

FOn the phone for DEET rash treatment, I was told to use Eucerin skincare lotion which helps the itching, hydrocortisone cream as a topical ointment to reduce the swelling and the ingestion of antihistamine diphenhydramine HCI pills for the allergic reaction, the main ingredient in Benadryl.

The infamous 'two weeks' time frame was given but I had some relief from the itchy blistering after 2 days. If blisters become open and infected then it's time to see a doctor.

References

http://amrita.net/deet.
http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/safety/healthcare/handbook/Chap08.pdf
http://www.lisashea.com/birding/mosquito/thiamine.html
http://www.goodlifeguide.net/health-tips/vitamin-b1-plants-and-vodka-may-be
http://www.lymeneteurope.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=3883
http://bodyodd.nbcnews.com/_news/2011/05/29/6732427-why-some-people
http://www.abc.net.au/health/talkinghealth/factbuster/stories/2007/11
http://www.ehow.com/about_5502937_vitamin-repel-mosquitoes.html#ixzz277mk5K8v
http://www.snopes.com/oldwives/skeeters.asp
http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jul/27/health/he-skeptic27
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002763.htm

Health Conditions and Diseases Skin Disorders Hives Allergies Allergy

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Comments 8 comments

TeriSilver profile image

TeriSilver 4 years ago from The Buckeye State

Good article, but I was originally thrown by the spelling of "Vitamen" im the the title ... is this a product? (Or did you mean "vitamin"). I can't hardly be outdoors without bug repellant, too much sweet meat, I guess!


ptosis profile image

ptosis 4 years ago from Arizona Author

Thank you so much for pointing out the glaring spelling I'll fix the spelling error right now. Thankx again.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 4 years ago from Philippines

Interesting story, nicely written. In the Philippines we have "Off" but I don't know if you have it there. That forest you like to walk in -- someone has to plant trees with scent and lots of citronella. mosquitoes hate that stuff.

Glad you finally resolved your problem. Thanks for sharing:)_


ptosis profile image

ptosis 4 years ago from Arizona Author

Live on the border of Sonora & Arizona and hike in the Sky Islands of the Huachuca Mountains. As crazy as it seems, the desert has a monsoon season. After last year's Coronado Monument fire there are tons of flowers and mosquitoes but no berries.

My little dog Chugs saved my life by barking at a black bear that was 25' from the car while I was sleeping with the windows down and the hatchback up. The bear was attracted to the empty can of soup that I ate.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 4 years ago from Philippines

Wow, looked up Sky Islands and its beautiful. Re the mosquitoes from the monsoon, maybe you're right about the Burka. It could be a new invention, a repurposed version:). Bear incident sounds scary. Chugs rocks!


ptosis profile image

ptosis 4 years ago from Arizona Author

I wasn't scared as much when I saw a black bear 150' away 2 years ago on Fort Huachuca. I thought it was a big dog, not knowing that black bears are 'small' I thought it was a baby bear and worried about the mother.

Both must've been females at less than 250 pounds. They don't grow that big around here. I've only seen javelinas on the road but never in the woods although I seen the piles of 'used berries' - except this year. Haven't heard of any wild cat sightings.

Huachuca Mountains are the humming bird capital of the US, and a whole lot of butterflies also.

I'm getting over my rash, although still have Krokodi skin - the benedryl make me sleepy.


ptosis profile image

ptosis 4 years ago from Arizona Author

For the past couple of days I've been trying Lemon Eucalyptus and it seems to work. Vinegar works but will smell like a homeless bum and repel everything and not just bugs.

Perhaps being unwashed and stink was the natural bug repellent of early prehistoric humans?


ptosis profile image

ptosis 3 years ago from Arizona Author

Mosquitoes ignore repellent Deet after first exposure! @ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-2151... "For many years, it was not clear exactly how the chemical worked, but recent research suggests that insects simply do not like the smell."

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