Wednesday, May 13, 2015

New Debilitating Mosquito Disease Hits U.S.

The Deadliest Animal on Earth Brings Chikungunya to the U.S.
We all have heard that Mosquitoes spread many diseases in humans and animals. In fact, Bill Gates in his blog last year created Mosquito Week to bring attention to the fact Mosquitoes kill more people than any other animal on the planet.
  • According to the WHO over 700 million people will get a mosquito borne disease and a million people will die each year from mosquitoes
  • In 2014 the debilitating disease Chikungunya was found in Florida and the CDC is now bracing for its spread. If you haven’t heard of Chikungunya you need to read this. It is another debilitating disease spread by mosquitoes that is just making its way to the United States.

  • Mosquitoes transmit diseases and parasites that dogs, cats and horses are extremely susceptible to. Heartworm, West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are all prevalent in the United States now.

Heartworm disease, transmitted by mosquitoes, is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body.

We all know it...we need to protect ourselves and our pets from mosquitoes. We also know that most bug repellants are full of chemicals which can do more harm than good.

DEET, a common chemical ingredient in bug spray, should not be used on dogs and cats. It can definitely be toxic if ingested which can happen when pets lick their skin or coats.

DEET is designed for direct application to people’s skin to repel insects. Rather than killing them, DEET seems to work by making it hard for these biting bugs to smell us. Check out this research study to learn more.

While DEET is considered safe by the CDC it MUST be used according to directions. Here are some precautions from the EPA and CDC:
  • Don't use any product that has DEET and sunscreen mixed together. Unlike DEET, sunscreen requires frequent reapplication. DEET doesn't wear off as quickly as sunscreen, so you could end up with unsafe amounts of DEET on your skin.
  • Apply DEET only to exposed skin and/or clothing. Don't put DEET on skin that will be covered by clothing -- this will cause your skin to absorb the DEET.
  • Don't use DEET on any open wounds or rashes.
  • Keep DEET out of your eyes, mouth and ears.
  • Don't spray it directly on your face.
  • Avoid inhaling it.
  • Don't apply DEET near food or use it in enclosed areas.
  • Apply DEET in a thin layer -- just enough to cover your exposed skin. Avoid heavy application or oversaturation.
  • Once you return indoors, make sure you wash off the DEET with soap and water. It's especially important to do this if you plan to reapply the DEET later or the next day.
So what are the natural options?

In two recent CDC publications, when oil of lemon eucalyptus was tested against mosquitoes found in the US, it provided protection similar to repellents containing DEET, (N,N-diethyl meta-toluamide)

Neem seed oil has been gaining popularity as a natural insect repellent for use on the body and in the garden.The oil is pressed from the fruits and seeds of Azadirachta indica, an evergreen tree native to India, where it has been traditionally used in remedies for a wide variety of skin problems. Neem at just one or two percent of the total product is also an effective insect repellent.

Our own Buzz Guard contains neem seed oil as well as pure essential oil of citronella. Our proprietary formula has a wonderful scent combining essential oils of fir, rose geranium, basil, rosewood and myrrh. It has been field tested with great success. Nancy Hassel, founder of Long Island Pet Professionals, includes Buzz Guard as a must-have pet product for spring because "it is safe and all natural so you can feel confident about using it." Read more reviews here.