The number of dengue and malaria cases in India is on the rise, as per the latest municipal report. These diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes so the best way to limit the spread of the disease is to protect yourself from the mosquitoes. Many programs and campaigns are being organized to raise awareness about the mosquito-borne diseases and how to prevent them. You can use mosquito nets to avoid mosquito bite but it can be used only at home or indoors. Mosquito repellent creams are available to keep mosquitos away while you are outside. Mosquito repellent creams or sprays make the person unattractive for the mosquitoes for biting. Mosquitoes and other insects that feed on blood are attracted by the odor of the skin and breathe of the humans. Humans release carbon dioxide when they breathe out and this attracts insects. By spraying or applying mosquito repellent, you make the skin unattractive to mosquitos. So, you will see mosquitoes flying nearby but it will not bite you. You also need to keep reapplying the cream to keep the mosquitoes at bay. (ALSO READ Top 5 tips to prevent malaria).

Is it safe to use mosquito repellent creams?

Mosquito repellent creams and sprays containing chemicals can have some effect on the person over a period of time. There are no scientific studies to prove that these insect and mosquito repellent creams are safe for you. Many of the components in insect repellent creams available in the market contains can lead to skin irritation. To keep the mosquitos at bay, you need to reapply the creams but regular use can have some effect on the health in the long run. (ALSO READ Dengue fever symptoms: Symptoms, causes, treatment and everything you need to know about Dengue fever).

Like the smoke-based repellents cause breathing and other side effects, cream mosquito repellents can also cause allergies in some. It is advisable to discontinue the use of mosquito repellant creams if you experience skin rashes, irritation or redness. Consult your doctor immediately.

You can use natural ingredients to avoid mosquitoes. An essential oil, citronella is an effective mosquito repellant. It is extracted from a species of lemongrass. You can use this oil on your skin to keep insects and mosquitoes at bay. You will have to mix citronella with a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil and then apply it on your skin. Reapply the oil every two hours. You can also buy mosquito repellents that are plant-based products. Look for ingredients like citronella, neem and eucalyptus while buying the repellant.