Dr Oz: Zika Virus & Mosquito Repellents
Zika cases in the U.S. keep rising and experts believe the virus will reach as many as 50 major American cities this summer across the south and west, reaching as far north as New York. The CDC recommends mosquito repellents that contain deet, but in high doses, deet can cause rashes, disorientation, and seizures, causing many to wonder if it’s safe for pregnant women and their unborn babies. It’s the unborn babies that are most at-risk for the most devastating side effect: microcephaly. Dr Oz wanted to find out if the bug sprays you’re buying are actually protecting you.
Dr Oz: Deet VS Picaridin VS Oil Of Lemon Eucalyptus
The three major ingredients used mosquito repellent are deet, picaridin, and oil of lemon eucalyptus. Dr Natalie Azar reported that all toxicity studies from CDC and the EPA have concluded that deet is safe in pregnancy, for breastfeeding women, women who want to get pregnant, and infants and children over the age of two months. The CDC recommends deet concentrations of about 15-20% but anything higher isn’t associated with better protection and could expose your to toxicity. The lower the concentrations, like 7% will last for a few hours, while the higher concentrations will protect you for longer.
Picaridin is a synthetic compound of something found in black pepper plants, and studies have shown that a concentration of about 20% is equally effective to that of deet, with less side effects.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus, which is what Dr Oz’s family uses, isn’t a true extract and is still a compound synthesized from the eucalyptus gum tree. Concentrations of about 30% are equally effective to deet and picaridin, but children under the age of three shouldn’t use it.
Dr Oz: Protect Yourself From Mosquitoes & Zika Virus
Dr Natalie then explained that the mosquito that transmits zika is actually most active during the day. During the day, it’s best to stay inside, use air conditioning, and use screens, as well as long-sleeved clothing. You should apply mosquito repellent to exposed skin and avoid standing water.
Dr Natalie then explained that a mosquito isn’t going to fly into a stream of wind, which means turning a patio fan on high could actually discourage mosquitoes from coming into the area.
Dr Oz: Do Citronella Candles Really Work?
Dr Oz then wanted to take a closer look at other popular outdoor products to find out just how toxic they could be. If you like to use citronella candles to keep away mosquitoes while you’re outside, pay close attention! Dr Oz explained that citronella oil is what they candles are made out of. The citronella, in theory, is toxic to mosquitoes, and when you light the candle, the gas is emitted into the air. The mixture of wind and air dilutes the gas, which means it’s not really keeping mosquitoes away at all. Dr Oz suggested repellent and the fans instead.
Another women wondered about her outdoor plates, because they’re made from plastic but unbreakable. Melamine plates are a go-to option for many families, and they’re made by combining two chemicals. In theory, the chemicals are fine, and are combined at extreme temperatures. But there’s a little extra melamine leftover, and the theory is that if you heat the plate to above 160 degrees, some of those particles could transfer to your food. Dr Oz suggested that you simply avoid heating the plates to avoid the problem.
Dr Oz: Avoid Chemicals From Camping Tents
Finally, a camp counselor was curious about her tent, wondering if it was safe for her kids to sleep in them because of the fabric. Dr Oz explained that chemical flame retardants were the main concern, so he sent a tent to the Good Housekeeping lab to see what would happen when the fabrics were exposed to fire. The good news is that all three were flame resistant. But would it be a problem to breathe in those chemicals? It turns out that a Duke researcher found toxic chemicals in ten out of eleven tents. The smartest thing to do is wash your hands after pitching your tent and venting the tent through the windows to let air flow through.