Saturday, May 5, 2012

Essential Oils and Bug Bites/Stings

I HATE mosquito's.  Did I mention that I H-A-T-E mosquito's?  Well, I do, I hate mosquito's.  And living where I live I have to deal with those pesky blood-suckers about 9 months out of the year.

Fortunately for me mosquito's do not find me very appetising, so unless they are out in great numbers I typically avoid that itchy bite even without using any form of repellent.  My husband and children, on the other hand, suffer in a way I have never seen before!  Honestly, any one of them (or all three of them) can be outside on a hot summer day with nightfall nowhere in site; mosquito's doing what they do to avoid the heat, and guess what?  They still get bitten.  My hubby usually only once, but my kids are like an all you can eat buffet.  Actually, it is so bad for the kids that, at the peak of mosquito season, even at night with all the windows shut and doors locked they still wake up in the morning with 1 to 3 new bites...yikes!!!  And, those bites swell up (sometimes to the size of grapes or golf balls), itch and bruise when healing.  The good news, I have essential oils to help me combat those itchy bites and aid in the healing process.  If I see a mosquito biting one of my kids and put the oils on immediately, the bites are almost undetectable!  That is a far cry from golf ball, bruising, itching welts.

No, this post is not just about the mosquito bite, but also includes all types of insect bites and stings.  Fire Ants.  Wasps.  Bees.  These are a few that come to my mind.

There are several essential oils recommended for aid in various bug bites (such as melrose, citronella, lavender, tea tree, peppermint, rosemary, copaiba, wintergreen, and many more when you start talking about oil blends) but I am only going to discuss the oils that my family and I use, how we use them and what effects we have seen. (Check out my previous essential oils post about using therapeutic grade essential oils only)

The oils I have used are Lavender, Purification and Peppermint from Young Living, and on occasion I use Lemongrass. 

Any time someone has a bug bite in my family I immediately apply lavender on it in full strength.  In my experience this helps to soothe the area and stop the itching.  It also calms my kids down just by the fragrance, the attention they are getting and the gentle rubbing of the bite.  I also always apply the oils with prayer.  An example to this is my 18-month old stepping into an ant bed and receiving several bites before I could get the ants off of him.  I doused his feet in lavender and he never complained or itched them again!  Lavender also aids in the healing process to help eliminate scarring and bruising.

If a bite is particularly bad, or was not discovered at the time of the incident I first apply the Lavender for the reasons mentioned above, but I also apply Purification in full strength.  The properties of this oil blend help to draw out the poison and reduce swelling.  I always do this with my kiddos mosquito bites even when I catch that bug in action!  My daughter's bites are the worst in the family, so depending on the severity of a particular bite I may reapply a few times the first and second day.  Have you ever seen those kids with bite scabs all over their arms and legs because they can not stop scratching those pesky bites?  Well, my kids have never had those scabs because when we use the oils they do not feel the need to scratch!  If I do catch them beginning to scratch I then simply apply more oils.

If we had a truly sever bite, or several bites in one area I would also apply peppermint (I have only done this once or twice) over the lavender and purification.  Peppermint drives oils deeper, helps with pain, is great for skin conditions and can help to fight infection.  I always dilute peppermint in a carrier oil (like extra virgin olive oil) for my kids because it is a particularly strong oil.

So with all of those wonderful oils above why would you ever need Lemongrass?  I'm glad you asked!  Lemongrass is an amazing and very powerful oil that I actually dilute quite a bit no matter when I use it.  It has anti fungal, antibacterial, anti parasitic and anti-inflammatory properties (the latter being my favorite use for lemongrass).  It also helps to regenerate connective tissues and ligaments...so great for sprains and the like!  Both my hubby and my daughter have experienced mosquito bites that occurred directly in the joint (finger or ankle bone/joint) and the joint swell up so bad that they could not bend it and it really hurt!  That is when I pull out the Lemongrass and apply to the above regimen.  Good news, I have never had the need to reapply lemongrass; for us a single application is sufficient!

So why doesn't everyone in your family just use insect repellent ALL THE TIME?  Honestly?  Would you want to walk around with a layer of chemicals on your body at all times; even when you sleep?  No!  But I do make a wonderful DIY insect repellent from Young Living oils that works great!  We use it when we know we will be out and about during peak mosquito dining time.


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**These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  If you are dealing with any type of health issue, please contact a license healthcare professional.**

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