drjanpatterson.com

I’ve started a personal website. I needed a place to pull together my academic work, interest in essential oils, grief experience, and writing to communicate with others.  So, I’ve started

www.drjanpatterson.com

Here I’ll have a Calendar of Events that will list training and speaking events, and will post information about infectious diseases, Wellness Aromatherapy educational posts, grief resources, and a link to my blog.

After 30 years of doing academic writing, I’m longing to share information about all the tools that are helping me get through this life, as well as current information about emerging infections.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

 

Mosquito strategy

After the floods in South Texas, we are well aware of the mosquitos!  Mosquitoes detect the carbon dioxide we generate when we exhale. That is how they find us to get their blood meal. Since we can’t stop exhaling, we use strategies to confuse their sensor system or overwhelm the carbon dioxide detection to repel them.

Besides the bothersome itch and swelling of mosquito bites, mosquitos in the US can transmit West Nile Virus, and less commonly, St. Louis encephalitis, dengue fever, and other viral infections. There were 379 cases of West Nile Virus in Texas last year, and the first case has already been reported this year. Most people infected with West Nile Virus will experience no symptoms. About 20% of people will have fever, weakness, nausea and vomiting. Severe symptoms occur in about 1% of people resulting in fever and neurologic symptoms including weakness, neck stiffness, and disorientation resulting from brain infection. So, there is good reason to prevent mosquito bites!

We are using a multi-pronged strategy for mosquito control at our house.  1) Bug repellent.  The most effective ‘clinically proven’ and EPA-approved repellents include DEET (diethyltoluamide–at least 20%), and three other synthetic chemicals: picaridin (at least 20%), oil of lemon eucalyptus (at least 30%), and I3535. DEET has long been considered the most effective repellent, but Consumers Reports(R) did some testing and found that the picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus products performed better than DEET.  DEET can be neurotoxic if absorbed, so you can’t use it on the hands and face. Also, using more than 35% DEET is not recommended and only increases the potential for toxicity.  All of these should be used sparingly in children, and some cannot be used on infants or children under 3 years old.  Check the label.  Also, these synthetic repellents should not be used around food and hands should be washed after application.

Plant oils are considered “minimum risk” so commercial plant oil product claims are not evaluated by the EPA.  The commercial plant oil repellents did not last more than an hour in the Consumer Reports tests, but we don’t know all of the products that were tested, and what oil combinations were used.

Permethrin, a synthetic chemical similar to the pyrethrum produced by chrysanthemums, can be sprayed on clothes, tents and gear, and is effective for several washings.  It is not for use on skin. You can find these products at sporting goods stores and some drug stores. There are various brand names so you will need to read the labels to look for ingredients.

When I was in Africa for a photo safari two years ago, I used DEET for protection from mosquito bites. The mosquitos there carry the type of malaria that can kill people, so the benefit was worth the potential toxicity. I wish I had known about essential oils then so I could have put something natural on my face and hands!

At our recent “Make and Take” essential oils class we made some outdoor spray that I am able to use on my face and hands (about the only parts exposed when I’m in our swimming pool)!  It has made our time outside much more pleasant. It may need to be reapplied periodically.

In a 2 oz brown spray bottle add:

pinch salt

10 drops Purification

10 drops Eucalyptus

5 drops Lemongrass

5 drops Peppermint

5 drops Thieves

1 oz natural witch hazel

0.5 oz distilled water or carrier oil (sweet almond oil, frac coconut oil, other)

If you only have a limited number of oils, you can use

pinch salt

10 drops Purification

10 drops Lavender (avoid if you have bees)

5 drops Peppermint

1 oz natural witch hazel

0.5 oz distilled water or carrier oil

OR

pinch salt

10 drops Purification

10 drops Thieves

1 oz natural witch hazel

0.5 oz distilled water or carrier oil

2) We burn a stick of good quality incense (we get from Amazon). Recently we are using lavender or sandalwood. The smoke from the incense confuses the mosquito’s CO2 detection system. You can also use a candle (especially citronella) but it generates less smoke than incense.  These are only supplementary deterrents and likely will not work alone.

3) Empty all of your standing water–plant saucers, buckets, stagnant water collections in yard because these are breeding grounds for mosquitos. Most types of mosquitos in our area don’t travel far for their daily blood meal, so clearing the standing water in your yard can make a difference.

4) When you can, wear long sleeves and long pants when outside.

Another strategy is to keep a rotating fan near, and “blow away” the mosquitos.  We just visited with our relatives who are big into fishing and they gave great reviews of  Thermacell(R). It is a small portable device fueled by a butane cartridge that heats and diffuses allethrin, a synthetic version of the repellent in chrysanthemums.  It is said to produce a 15 X 15 mosquito-free zone.  Sounds like it could be another tool in the toolbox for mosquito strategy.

We are due for some more rain in South Texas. We could use your prayers for those families suffering losses and devastation in the floods.  God bless.

References

http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html

http://www.mosquito.org/about-amca

http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/biology/mosquitoes/index.html

http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/repellent.html

How to win the battle of the bugs.  Consumer Reports July 2015;80:34-37.

http://www.thermacell.com/mosquito-repellent/why-thermacell

 

Hello world!

Why write a blog?  I’ve been thinking about it for a while but I wasn’t sure anything I had to say would be interesting.  Well, there are things I want to write about and things I want to say. And maybe it could help someone. Even if it doesn’t, maybe it will help me.  A lot has happened to me (us) in the last few years.  While I can’t talk about all of it, I have been encouraged lately by the use of essential oils.  It’s an important part of my “survive and thrive” toolkit now.  I’d like to use this forum to talk about how essential oils help me and to spread information about essential oils and how they can fit into the whole picture of wellness.

It takes a whole tool kit to make it through this life.

A Foundation

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Friends

Adding Fulfillment

  • Function – Meaningful work
  • Fitness
  • Fun
  • Finding new interests

These have facilitated Healing:

  • Medicine
  • Essential oils and Herbs

And so as a bereaved parent, griever, cancer survivor, infectious diseases physician, mother, wife, sister, friend, sprint triathlete, and most recently, essential oiler, I’d like to share some of my journey with you.