Duke University Medical Center has sponsored numerous studies on the harmful effects of DEET . Below is an excerpt from their most recent study on the long -term exposure of DEET -based products. Every year, approximately one-third of the U.S. population uses insect repellants containing DEET to ward off mosquitoes and other pests. At present , DEET is used in more than 230 products with concentrations up to100 percent. However, DEET should be used with caution due to its possible damaging effects on brain cells. Studies have shown that DEET causes brain cell death and behavioral changes in rats after frequent and prolonged use. This exposure causes neurons to die in regions of the brain that control muscle movement , learning, memory, and concentration. Rats treated with an average human dose of DEET (40 mg/kg body weight) performed far worse when challenged with physical tasks requiring muscle control, strength and coordination . These findings are consistent with reported human symptoms followingDEET's use by the military in the Persian Gulf War. With heavy exposure to DEET and other insecticides, humans may experience memory loss, headache, weakness, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, tremors and shortness of breath. These symptoms may not be evident until months or even years after exposure. The most severe damage occurs when DEET is used concurrently with other insecticides, such as permethrin , for prolonged and frequent periods of time. Duke University Medical Center Pharmacologist Dr. Mohamed Abou -Donia has spent 30 years researching the effects of pesticides such as DEET . He has found that prolonged exposure to DEET can impair functioning in parts of the brain ."Damage to these areas could result in problems with muscle coordination,muscle weakness, walking or even memory and cognition." Abou -Donia says rats given even small doses of DEET for 60 days had a harder time accomplishing even the easiest tasks. Abou -Donia says short- term exposure to DEET does not appear to be harmful, but warns against using any product with more than a 30 percent concentration. Use as little of the product as you can, and don't use a product containing DEET if you're taking any medication. "We found that the combined exposure to DEET and other chemicals is more dangerous than just DEET alone." Abou -Donia also warns to never put a product containing DEET on an infant's or child's skin.
So what is a concerned holistic mama supposed to do to keep her family mosquito bite-free?
Here's my recommendation:
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