Zika Virus Update: Mexican Students Create Natural Mosquito Repellents; 5 Home Remedies for Repelling Mosquitoes

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Feb 09, 2016 04:30 AM EST

RECIFE, BRAZIL - JANUARY 26: Aedes aegypti mosquitos are seen in a lab at the Fiocruz institute on January 26, 2016 in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. The mosquito transmits the Zika virus and is being studied at the institute. In the last four months, authorities have recorded close to 4,000 cases in Brazil in which the mosquito-borne Zika virus may have led to microcephaly in infants. The ailment results in an abnormally small head in newborns and is associated with various disorders including decreased brain development. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Zika virus outbreak is likely to spread throughout nearly all the Americas. At least twelve cases in the United States have now been confirmed by the CDC. (Photo : Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Oaxaca University students in Mexico have created an insect repellent that contains natural ingredients. They are planning to market this among the locals in order to fight Zika, dengue and chikungunya diseases.

Good News Network reported that the students will soon launch CitroRepel in Mexico City and nearby high temperature and humid locations. The insect repellents consist of ingredients like alcohol, distilled water and glycerin. It also contains essential oils extracted from lemon grass, orange peel, lavender, citronella, limonene and linalool.

Sales of repellents have surged since the Zika outbreak in many affected countries, Medical Express reported. But, the university students are planning to make CitroRepel at least 60 percent more affordable than name brands.

Yahoo! reported that some insect repellents could pose potential problems especially in pregnant mothers and children since these are manufactured using the chemical known as DEET or diethyltoluamide.

"We have to keep in mind that DEET is a pesticide and pesticides are toxic," said naturopathic doctor Matthew Brennecke in the report. "Although the amount of DEET applied when surrounded by mosquitoes is relatively little, it will still create some sort of toxic burden to the fetus, which may not show any effects initially, but later in life may be part of the accumulation of toxins (pesticides, heavy metals, etc.) that could possibly present problems."

If you're concerned about Zika infection, you can also take precautions and do home remedies to prevent mosquito bites. Below are some suggestions:

1) Use essential oils to drive insects away.

Some of the popular choices include citronella, eucalyptus and lavender. Either use this organically as drops on surfaces like sheets or curtains especially near doors and windows, or mix this with vegetable oil to rub on the skin. Make sure that you're getting high quality oil as synthetic variants will prove less effective.

2) Light citronella candles.

The aroma from the candles will drive away mosquitoes, so strategically place this around patio, gardens and indoors. National Pesticide Information Center cited that citronella oil is the most effective natural mosquito repellent that has minimum pesticide risks, so go ahead and light up as often as you would like to protect your house.

3) Plant mosquito repellants.

Aside from citronella plant, you can also grow catnip and lavender in your backyard and its flower bed will reduce mosquito presence around your house.

4) Eliminate any stagnant water.

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water so make sure to drain your gutter, bird baths, pet bowls and basins. Even puddles left by the rain can be a hotbed for mosquitoes, so dry this out as soon as possible.

5) Barbecue some rosemary.

Not only will this herb make food flavorful, but it can also effectively get rid of mosquitoes. Simple heat a few stalks of rosemary on hot coals in the grill and its aroma will drive away the pesky insects.

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