Blues On The Green | Keeping the Bugs Away

KGSR’s Blues On The Green is back, and it’s time to leave our houses and become one with Austin’s outdoor events. It will be nice to get a great set up at Zilker Park and enjoy live music, food, and more. Bands like Saints of Valory, Shinyribs, and Robert Ellis, it is bound to be a great concert season. But one thing we can agree that we don’t enjoy is bug bites.

First the buzz, then the sting, then the days of itching and scratching. But the bugs don’t have to cause your blues, you can take precautions now to avoid these irritations later.

“One of the best ways to avoid being bitten or stung is to cover up,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, a board certified Dermatologist in Austin, TX. “But long sleeves during Austin’s spring and summer is not always a practical option,” he adds. So that leaves insect repellents.

DeetThe Deets on DEET

The most common ingredient in insect repellents is DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide). This is a chemical that repels a variety of insects including mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. Although originally created by the United States Army in 1957 to shield soldiers from bug-infested areas, it is now used by all people in effort to cut down the chances of bites and insect-spread disease. There are many insect repellents in use that contain DEET, and it has been shown highly effective in supressing the amount of insect bites. Although it is known exactly what in DEET detracts the bugs, many believe it throws off the insects sense of sell and deprives it of that sensory map to finding your skin.

This agent should not be used in children less than 2 months of age, and children older than 2 months should not use a product with a concentration of DEET greater than 30%.

Bite BlockerBiteBlocker

If you are looking for a way to ward of bugs that does not contain DEET, Bite Blocker may have what you need. Formulated from a combination of plant based oils, extracts, and soybean, Bite Blocker offers between four and eight hours of bug-fighting power. “There are many people who are concerned with what is in the skincare products, and what each chemical or ingredients does to their skin and the environment,” states Dr. Miriam Hanson, an Austin-based Cosmetic Dermatologist. “We are seeing more and more  natural options, giving patients more comfort with what they are putting on their body,” she adds. This form of insect repellent works best against mosquitoes and flies.

0001142394109_500X500Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

Another more natural option is Lemon Eucalyptus oil. Found in many common supermarkets and outdoor gear stores like Walmart, REI, and even Amazon, products that offer Lemon Eucalyptus Oil as their main ingredient strive to offer you multiple hours of coverage from insects. The oils naturally repel bugs, which include mosquitoes and ticks. Although this product has been dinged for its potent smell, it is applauded for it’s effectiveness

How To Decide?

Making a decision on which insect defense to use includes many variables. You have to make a decision about which insects you will be most likely to come across during your outing. Each option claims to defend you from a certain set of insects, leaving it up to your discretion. Other factors might include the consistency of the product, its time frame of effect, and its smell.

“With the irritation, discomfort, and now even some potential diseases and flues being transmitted by bug bites, it’s best to protect yourself,” states Dr. Mamelak. “It’s always unfortunate to discover an insect bite allergy as you are in the middle of an outing, so it is best to take as many preventative measures as possible,” he adds. Let us know which repellent you find the most trustworthy and effective on our twitter @DrAdamMamelak.

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Do you have any questions regarding preventative methods of protecting your skin? Contact us today and we are happy to set up a skin consultation to create your plan for skin safety and success!

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