Use Your Own Bug Spray For A Disease-Free Summer

Summer is that time of the year many choose for camping, rock climbing, hiking, and other outdoor sports. Outdoor sports fanatics are always waiting for this season to get out there and do their best to achieve their goals. It is also the time for family picnics and other outdoor gatherings with friends and family.

However, it is hard to ignore that summers are also that time of the year where you may be exposed to bugs that can cause some serious illnesses. Let’s take a look at some of the most common diseases that may spread during the summer and what you can do to protect yourself from these bugs.


Common Diseases That Spread During The Summer

Zika Fever Is A Disease That Spreads During The Summer

Summers may be the time for fun but it is also the time where bugs have their fun, too. The most common diseases may be mosquito-borne diseases – West Nile Virus, the Zika virus, dengue – or tick-borne – Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.


Mosquito-Borne Diseases

  • Dengue: Spread by tropical mosquito bites, dengue fever can cause skin rashes and joint pain. In some cases, it may also be life-threatening.
  • Malaria: Spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes, those affected by malaria may experience chills, fever, and sweating.
  • West Nile Fever: Infected by the West Nile virus, most people do not show any symptoms. Others may develop a fever along with symptoms like headaches, joint pain, body ache, and others.
  • Zika Fever: Spread through mosquito bites, Zika can cause paralysis. Symptoms also include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.

Tick-Borne Diseases

  • Lyme Disease: This disease is caused by the bite of infected black-legged ticks. Some of the symptoms include skin rashes, fever, headache, and fatigue.
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: This disease is caused by the bite of infected ticks and causes symptoms like fever, headache, and rashes.

These are only a few diseases that you may be prone to during the summer season. The first precaution that many of us take to protect ourselves from these diseases is to use an insect repellent. Insect repellents may be effective in keeping the bugs away but they also have a downside – insect repellents may negatively affect your health.

Downside Of Commercial Insect Repellents

Commercial Insect Repellents Contain DEET That May Harm The Body When Overexposed


Insect repellents or bug sprays may be effective in controlling the insects that may cause deadly diseases. However, these bug sprays contain chemicals that may affect your health and cause other reactions that may be harmful to your health.

Most commercial bug sprays contain chemicals called DEET, chemically known as N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, and pyrethrins. Overexposure to these can cause health issues.


The following are symptoms that are caused when you swallow an insect repellent that contains pyrethrins.1

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Coughing
  • Loss of alertness (stupor), from the blood oxygen level being out of balance
  • Tremors (if a large amount is swallowed)
  • Seizures (if a large amount is swallowed)
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting

Similarly, DEET has side effects that may be caused by using too much of the insect repellents. These are as follows:2

  • Using sprays that contain DEET can cause mild skin irritation and skin redness. However, using sprays containing a large amount of DEET over a long period may cause severe skin reactions like blistering, burning, and permanent scars.
  • Spraying bug repellents in areas near the eyes, ears, nose, and throat can cause temporary burning and redness.
  • If an individual swallows a small amount of DEET, it can cause moderate to severe stomach irritation, nausea, and vomiting. If a large amount is swallowed it may cause low blood pressure and slow heartbeats.
  • Using repellents that contain over 50 percent concentration of DEET over a long duration can cause serious damage to the nervous system. Some of these include insomnia, mood changes, disorientation, clumsiness while walking, seizures, coma, and, sometimes, even death.

You are probably wondering what you can use to repel insects when you are enjoying your summer camping or other outdoor activities. If you do not wish to take a chance with commercial insect repellents because of their many side effects, you can prepare your own insect repellent using natural ingredients.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have suggested the use of natural ingredients like essential oils including rosemary, peppermint, thyme, lemongrass, and other oils.3 That said, you can prepare your own insect repellents with minimal side effects to your health. Let’s examine a few natural bug sprays that you can prepare on your own.


Homemade Insect Repellents For The Summer

Essential Oils Are Used In Homemade Insect Repellents

Mosquitoes are everywhere and, during the summer, they may even invade your homes. Here are a few mosquito repellent recipes you can prepare with natural ingredients with negligible side effects.4

1. Mosquito Repellent Recipe For Your House


  • 1 teaspoon castor oil
  • 1–1.5 tablespoons of water
  • 8 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 8 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 4 drops geranium essential oil

How To Use:

  • Add all the ingredients to a spray bottle.
  • Shake well before use and spray around the house to keep the mosquitoes away.

2. Mosquito Repellent Recipe For Your Skin


  • A handful of basil
  • 1.5 cup boiling water
  • 1.5 cup vodka

How To Use:

  • Take the handful of basil in a bowl and pour the cup of boiling water over the basil leaves.
  • Allow the leaves to steep for 2–4 hours.
  • Squeeze the leaves to get as much liquid as possible.
  • Pour this liquid into a spray bottle and add the vodka to it.
  • Shake the bottle to combine both the liquids well.
  • Spray and rub the content onto your skin before heading outdoors.

3. All-Purpose Bug Repellent Recipe


  • 3 ounces vodka/distilled water/witch hazel
  • 15 drops citronella essential oil
  • 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 10 drops catnip essential oil
  • 5 drops thyme essential oil
  • 3 drops neem oil

How To Use:

  • Add all the ingredients to a spray bottle.
  • Shake well and use as desired.

So, if you are heading outdoors this summer, carry your own bug repellent spray to protect yourself from the disease-causing insects. Also, although natural ingredients are used in making these bug sprays, it is important to try a patch test before using them all over your body to avoid any allergic reaction.