By Harsh Kanchan
Dengue, chikungunya, malaria, Zika…mosquitoes happen to be one of the most common carriers of these deadly disease causing viruses. Children are far more vulnerable to these attacks due to their weak immunity. It is important to make sure these mosquitoes don’t take residence in our homes. Here we share some natural alternatives to chemical mosquito repellents, and children-friendly ayurvedic solutions to mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases.
First of all, we need to take steps for basic prevention. Mosquitoes need stagnant water to thrive and multiply. Ensuring that mosquitoes do not get avenues to multiply is the first of them. Let’s look at simple ways to prevent mosquito breeding:
Hygiene: Maintain proper hygiene in and around your house. Most important is to check stagnant water from accumulating near the house.
Clear Trash: Do not accumulate empty bottles, cups, cans and other trash. Almost anything that holds water-even a small amount-can turn into a mosquito nursery. Remove old tyres and drill holes in the bottom of tyre swings to allow water to drain. Tyres are considered to be prime mosquito havens. Most importantly, discard trash responsibly.
Clear Stagnant Water: Mosquitoes need stagnant, still water to lay their eggs and for the young to successfully hatch and mature. During mosquito season, it’s especially important to keep gutters clear, thoroughly empty children’s pools and buckets after use.
Protective Clothing: When sending children outdoors to play, ensure that they wear protective clothing.
Neem Leaves: Burning neem leaves is considered very effective in purifying the surroundings, and mosquitoes cannot stand the smell.
Use of mosquito repellents: Apply mosquito repellents on children when they are going out. Include this in their bedtime regime too. Natural repellents are listed below.
Mosquito-Repellent Plants: One can keep plants that have mosquito repellent properties like feverfew, citronella, catnip and lavender in their homes or gardens.
Mosquito Nets: Encourage children to use mosquito nets when sleeping. This is considered particularly beneficial in preventing mosquito bites.
Nature has bestowed us with ample options to cure and prevent mosquito bites. (While these are natural Ayurveda remedies, do consult a doctor to take precautions against any existing conditions or allergies.)
Blend Giloy plant leaves to make a juice and drink it on an empty stomach in the morning for two to three days. One could boil the stems and serve it as a herbal drink. One can also add few Tulsi leaves in the drink. A mixture of Giloy leaves could also be applied on the affected area. The juice cleanses the child’s body, boosts immunity and removes toxins.
Grind neem leaves and apply the mixture on skin. Apart from keeping mosquitoes at bay, it also rejuvenates the skin.
Aloe Vera acts as a natural antiseptic. It reduces itching and swelling and aids faster healing. Peel away the tough skin of the plant and scoop out the gel. Cool the gel for about 10-15 minutes and then rub it on your skin.
Lemon and Mint
Lemons are known for their anti-inflammatory and anaesthetic properties. They help in reducing swelling and pain. Simply slice a lemon and rub it on the affected area of the child. One can also make a paste of lime juice and crushed basil and apply it for a soothing effect. One can use mint leaves also with lemon, for its cooling sensation.
Ayurvedic oils such as murivenna, karpooradi thailam, olive oil mix are said to be very effective in treating mosquito diseases and fever.
Apart from them, some essential natural oils like tea tree, rosemary, lavender, neem and cedar can help give temporary relief for a mosquito bite. Dilute these in small amounts in water and gently rub on the affected area. Applying mustard oil mixed with camphor on the affected area can also help lessen swelling.
Onion or garlic
They help in reducing swelling and soothe the itching. Moreover, the strong smell can keep insects and mosquitoes away. Apply minced onion or garlic on the affected area, leave it on for few minutes and then wash off.
Salt is an easy remedy to treat mosquito bites. Mix some salt in water and apply the liquid on the affected area.
Dab some honey on the mosquito bite. Honey has antibacterial properties and can help reduce inflammation.
Drinking hot milk with a pinch of turmeric boosts child’s immunity. It is also known to boost metabolism and helps in making the healing process faster.
This herb has the ability to clear up the symptoms of dengue fever quickly and eliminate the virus from the body. It works like papaya leaves.
Its leaves are known to reduce fever and act as a sedative to ease pain and promote more restful sleep for patients. You can soak the leaves in water and then drink it or you can get methi powder and mix it with water and have it.
They help in increasing the platelet count and reduce symptoms of fever like body ache, chills, feeling low, getting tired easily and nausea. One can crush the leaves and consume or drink the juice which helps in flushing out the toxins.
Carrot and Sunflower Seeds
Carrot and sunflower seeds are as good supplements for chikungunya patients as they strengthen a person’s resistance to fight disease. Triphala is also effective in controlling symptoms of chikungunya.
In addition, the external application of herbs like kiratatikta, and ginger can be very effective in treating fever and mosquito bites.
It is a rhythmic breathing exercise which has been found to be effective in boosting the body’s immunity, and in protecting from fever and diseases such as Chikungunya.
(With inputs from Dr Lakshmi, Ayurveda expert with The Art of Living’s Sri Sri Tattva.)