Outdoor picnics, hikes, and trips to the local swimming hole are just a few of the activities that make summer everyone’s favorite season, but pesky bugs and their bites can put a damper on big summer fun. Not only can those itchy, red bites hinder your activities, they can also carry diseases like West Nile virus, malaria, and Lyme disease. While many commercial insect repellents have been shown to effectively keep bugs away, their chemical contents may not be completely safe for you and your family. We encourage you to try these simple, natural tricks to enjoy a healthy, bug-free summer.

Use Natural Sprays

Instead of commercially bottled insecticide sprays, why not repel bugs naturally this season? Essential oil blends combine natural bug repellants like catnip, lavender, and Neem, which have been shown to reduce bug bites when applied to skin and clothing. Recently approved by the FDA as a natural insect spray, lemon eucalyptus has also been shown to significantly repel harmful tick and mosquito bites.

Stay Covered

Keep yourself covered! While it may seem counterintuitive to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants during the warmer months, your clothing is your first defense against pesky insect bites. We recommend wearing loose-fitting clothing that covers your body completely and long socks to protect feet and ankles. When hiking, use caution in tall grassy areas where ticks like to hide and wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and scalp.

Take Care

Despite preventative measures, it’s inevitable that one or two mosquitos will find their way onto your skin this summer, yielding itchy and unpleasant results. If you find yourself with one or two bites this season, remember to take care of your skin to avoid infection. Try to avoid scratching and apply a cold compress to keep swelling down. Administering a few drops of lavender or tea tree essential oil has been shown to soothe insect bites too.

Summer doesn’t have to be a bummer if you use these simple tips to keep insects away. With a little common sense and some natural know-how, you and your family can enjoy your favorite summer activities without worrying about insect bites and their unpleasant, and itchy consequences.