A few weeks after I found out I was pregnant with our daughter, we were wheels down in the Dominican Republic. The trip was booked long before I even suspected pregnancy. (Truth be told, we weren’t trying to conceive. Our daughter is an oops baby, and the greatest oops that ever existed!) This was in summer 2014 before anyone had ever heard of the Zika Virus, although I’m sure it existed back then, too. Nowadays, you can’t turn on the news or scroll through your Twitter feed without reading about the mosquito-born virus. Pregnant women across the U.S. and the world, I imagine, are terrified to travel to South America, Central America or the Caribbean, where outbreaks of the Zika virus have been identified. And those fears are validated, knowing the very serious birth defects that this virus can cause.
If I was in the same situation today, pregnant with an upcoming Caribbean trip, knowing the prevalence of the Zika Virus, would I still go? Probably not. Frankly, it’s just not worth the risk. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control advise you take enhanced precautions, and urge pregnant women not to travel to areas where the Zika virus has been detected.
I know travel is a personal choice, and when you’ve been planning a trip and looking forward to it, it’s tough to cancel it over a virus you likely won’t get. So if you do plan to visit any of the areas impacted by this virus, definitely do as the CDC suggests and take every precaution necessary to avoid exposure. This means wearing appropriate clothing and constantly applying mosquito repellent.
I’ve always been somewhat “crunchy” or “granola” when it comes to chemicals or the environment, and this was especially true when I was carrying a child, and it’s now even more so since becoming a mother. For this reason, I typically stray away from DEET, the main ingredient in mosquito repellent. So on our last trip to Central America this summer, I wanted to find an all natural solution.
A good friend of mine swore by a homemade insect repellent containing essential oils. Since I don’t like using chemicals on my skin, and I most certainly wasn’t going to use them on our infant daughter (doctors do not recommend using DEET on babies), I decided to give the essential oil blend a try.
The natural repellent not only smelled good, but it worked wonders! We hiked through the rainforest and literally walked through clouds of mosquitoes. My husband, who did not use any of the insect repellent (men… smh), was eaten alive! But I’m not even joking when I tell you that my daughter and I didn’t get a single mosquito bite!
With all the reports about the Zika virus in the news, I just wanted to share the ingredients and instructions for making this all-natural repellent. It will cost a bit up front to buy all of the oils, but they will last you a long time and can be used for many different things. I use Young Living Essential Oils, but you can use any trusted brand. So here are the ingredients:
10 oz water
60 drops lemon oil
60 drops purification
40 drops cedar wood
40 drops clove
60 drops rosemary
30 drops peppermint
30 drops citrus
Just mix it all together in a spray bottle and shake well before each use.
Whether you’re traveling or not, as the mosquito season approaches, if you’re a somewhat crunchy mama like me, or just want to avoid using DEET, this is one tried and tested all-natural solution that I will vouch for.