An Outbreak Shouldn’t Mean A Break Out: 3 Insect Repellants Gentle Enough For Your Skin

Insect repellent is a summer essential unless of course you want to become bug food within a matter of minutes. Bug bites can damage your skin causing blisters, scars, and some even carry diseases so you want to keep them at bay. While a good repellent can work wonders in keeping insects away, they can be oily, smelly and make you feel greasy and uncomfortable so what do you do? You look for one that repels the bugs, but doesn’t repulse you. Below you will find almost everything you need to know about insect repellent and how to find one with the active ingredients  that are right for you.

DEET

The strongest and most popular bug spray out on the market is DEET. It is America’s most used repellent a 2008 study showed that more than 200 million people use it worldwide. When used in high concentrations it is likely the most effective repellent on the market. As is the case with most chemicals, too much of a good thing turns out to be bad. If used too frequently, repellents with a high concentration of DEET can cause rashes, scarring and blisters. These conditions are rare and even less likely if you are diligent to wash your skin after you return indoors and the repellent is no longer necessary. If you are in a situation where a quick shower isn’t really possible—like a camping trip or long hike—then a wet  wipe or moist toilette should do the trick. Products like Off! Deep Woods Sportsmen,contains 30% DEET and tend to be longer lasting.

Lemon Eucalyptus oil

If you are looking for a natural solution to your bug biting problems then you should certainly consider the oil of lemon eucalyptus. It is one of only three repellents that are registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency. It derives from a species of eucalyptus tree and research has shown that it is one of the most effective plant based insect repellents. You can find it in Repel Plant Based Lemon Eucalyptus, Bite Blocker Xtreme and Burts Bees All Natural Herbal.

Picaridin

This ingredient derives from pepper and is more widely available in Europe and Australia. In the United States it is used in lower concentrations that may be increased in time after more studies have been conducted. The repellent can irritate your eyes if there is direct contact, but there have been no signs or reports of it damaging or severely irritating anyone’s skin. It has also been shown that Picaridin lasts about 70% as long as DEET making it a close second to the more potent solution. It is the active ingredient in Natrapel 8-hour and Cutter Advanced which promotes having both a light and clean feel, and is fragrance free.

Keep in mind:

Insect repellent is a chemical and like most chemicals it shouldn’t be used on babies. The age limits vary based on the product and the potency, but most are consistent in their warning against the use on babies. When you apply insect repellent to children use your hands to rub it on them and never put it on their hands as they tend to put them in their mouths. Also remember to avoid using too much. Never spray in an enclosed area, and avoid places on the skin where there are wounds or irritated skin.  Only apply on the skin that is exposed and not under clothing. Lastly, to properly apply to your face, use your hands instead of spraying your face directly and never forget to wash it off after you are indoors.

Dr. Steven Zimmet is an Austin dermatologist at Zimmet Vein & Dermatology. His practice is dedicated to venous and dermatological advancements including body contouring, acne and sun damage treatment, and skin resurfacing.






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Top Tips On Redesigning Your Garden For The Summer

With the arrival of spring often comes people’s desire to get out in the garden and change it up in order to recreate garden magic in time for summer BBQs with friends. However, redesigning a garden isn’t always easy and it can also be quite expensive, which is a real pain if the British summer turns out to be a wash out.

 

Redesigning your garden doesn’t have to be so pricey and stressful, however, and below you will find a number of top tips that will help save you money in the long run and get your garden looking as good as you want it to.

1. Remember what happened last year!

One of the biggest things to keep in mind, upon deciding you want to give your garden a makeover, is to remember exactly what you did in the garden last year and the years preceding that. You will then be able to steer clear of doing anything that didn’t work. For example, did you plant a particular flower that didn’t bloom? Did you successfully grow a plant but hate the scent it gave off?

You need to learn from your mistakes and ensure you know everything about the plants you are planting, i.e. what soil types they prefer, climate, should they be in direct sunlight and so on. This forward planning will ensure your garden looks as perfect as you want it to.

2. Test the pH of your soil

Even if you believe your garden has good soil, it is still important to test it before trying to grow anything. Even more so if you are planning to grow any foodstuffs and have a vegetable patch. So many people just feed their soil with composts and nutrients before they know what their soil is lacking in. Do not do this.

Buy a pH soil test form your local garden centre and then you will be able to see exactly what is going on with your soil and adapt your soil feeding to suit its exact nutrient and mineral requirements. Soil planning is essential if you want your garden redesign to be a success, so do not ever miss out on this step. If you choose to forgo testing your soil, you will only end up wasting your money buying plants and seeds that will not grow and bloom to their full potential.

3. Make your garden smell beautiful

The majority of people, when redesigning their gardens, tend to only focus on the visual sense, however, this is a mistake. When planning what you’re going to plant and grow you should not only think about colours, height and spread but also smell. Some of the best gardens are a true sight to behold but have a greater impact because they smell heavenly too.

Take care when buying your plants and flowers because unfortunately, many will have very limited fragrance because unfortunately it has been lost over time as breeders have worked to ensure plants have longer blooming periods. For instance, there’s no harm in choosing flowers like roses for their visual beauty but their fragrance will now be rather limited. Therefore try to also plant many of the more old-fashioned plants like gardenias, nicotianas and dianthus as these will not only provide colour but are also still strong in perfume too.

4. Create a focal point

As with interior design, where you might make a fireplace or central wall a focal point in your living room, you should look to make a focal point within your garden. You will have a much wider choice of where to make your focal point in your garden as opposed to inside your house and can even vary it on a year by year basis if you so choose.

Many people buy water features and make them a focal point of the garden. They do this by installing a lovely garden path that leads right up to them or by setting them apart from the rest of the garden by setting up ornamental handrails around the feature. Focal points don’t have to be water features though; they can be anything from a distinctive plant to a garden patio.

5. Make sure you have the right tools

This should go without saying and if you are particularly green fingered, no doubt you will have a stock of useful garden tools in your shed. However, there are many people who start off redesigning their garden without many of the key tools they need, simply because they’ve not planned what they’re going to do to their garden in advance.

You don’t need to spend a fortune; however, it is definitely worth investing in some good quality tools, in order to make sure your garden redesign goes smoothly and looks professional once you have finished. At the very least you should have the following:

- Rake
- Shovel
- Pruners
- Garden knife
- Trowel
- Hard-wearing gloves
- Knee pad
- Water hose
- Watering can

Take good care of these tools and you will be able to use them for years. For instance, each time you use any of the metal based tools, rinse off any soil and grime thoroughly, dry them and then place them into a bucket with a sand and motor oil mixture. This will prevent rusting and ensure your tools stay sharp and shiny – perfect for helping you redesign your garden.

Attached Images:
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Laura writes for Seagull Balustrades. When not blogging about banister rails, she’s usually trying to wipe childrens’ fingerprints off hers.

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Tips For A Beautiful Garden This Summer

Tips for a Beautiful Garden This Summer

Summer is the perfect time for relaxing in the garden and refreshing your landscape with lots of pretty flowers and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Most plants will flourish during the summer months, though the dry weather and variation in wildlife means that you may have to take extra care when planning your summer garden.

Plan your garden out before you do the work

Many of your plants will need to be exposed to sunlight for all daylight hours, so making sure they are in an optimum position will ensure that your plants last for as long as possible. Arranging your plants by their colours will also create an attractive landscape, as well as arranging by scents and textures. Creating a story with your flowers and plants can really heighten the pleasure gained from simply wandering around your garden and getting hit by different smells and sights.

You should also experiment with using pots as well as planting in the soil, as this adds height to your garden and some plants are better suited to pots. Of course, adding some ornaments around your garden also adds a greater sense of beauty, and lining your garden with lights or bunting can be a nice touch for a summer’s evening.

Reuse and recycle where possible

As summer nears many councils impose a ban on hose pipes, so reusing water is an environmentally friendly option and a great way of getting around any bans. Watering your plants with leftover kettle water or boiled vegetable water is a good start, and installing a water butt in your garden can be a great way to maintain water levels in your plant pots and beds over the summer months. It’s important to ensure your water butt is covered properly to prevent any wildlife from getting inside. Additionally, putting coffee grounds or tea leaves on your garden maintains the acidity of your soil without having to make a full-blown compost heap.

Tending to your lawn

The lawn can be a forgotten area of care, but it soon becomes apparent when it goes brown and starts fading away! When you mow the lawn make sure you don’t remove more than a third of the height of the grass as it can stress the roots of the grass. It’s also a good idea to leave the clippings on the grass as the remains can restore nutrients into the lawn. Mowing your lawn in the evening means that the grass has had a small chance to grow back before the heat of the midday sun, and this also helps to prevent it from browning.

As your lawn will undoubtedly be the victim of the summer heat, it’s also important to feed your lawn as often as possible, by watering it and giving it specially designed lawn feed. You should also be vigilant and remove any moss build ups and have some grass seeds to hand for any persistent bald patches of grass.

Beware of the insects

Summer is peak time for insect infestations and many delicate plants can be ruined by pests. Aphids and white flies in particular can be damaging for flowers such as roses, so inspecting your plants as often as possible is a must. To avoid using chemicals on your plants, you can order ladybirds and other “good” insects online to ward off any bad bugs on your plants.

Ursula Jones writes about gardening tips and Virginia Hayward hampers. For more information visit www.virginiahayward.com

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