Mosquito Repellents

This week I found not only my PJs but also my pillow had become home to mosquitoes. Not the nicest thing to find when your head hits the pillow it has to be said.

Being someone mosquitoes love to snack on and knowing that bites and stings are a lymphoedema risk, it seems it is that time of year again when I need to find ways to keep the little buggers away from me.

citronella-candleHere a few things I know work and a few new ones that are worth a try:

  1. On my affected arm swap the E45 and Argan oil combo to Avon – Skin so Soft, which contains citronella.
  2. Get out the citronella tealights and start using those instead of my regular scented candles.
  3. Get some more lavender, rosemary, lemon grass and marigolds planted up in the garden.
  4. When opening windows in my bedroom remember to use the fly screens too.
  5. Cook with garlic more.
  6. Get out my mosquito swatter just in case.
  7. Make sure there’s no standing water inside or out.
  8. Cook with soy bean oil.
  9. Cut down or cut out perfumed products, especially when going outside.
  10. Wear long sleeved, light coloured tops with a tight weave.
  11. Avoid excessive exercise particularly at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are out. Sweat, carbon dioxide and warmer body temperatures are also very attractive to them.

(Source: Amelia Island Mosquito Control)

Lymphoedema Risk Factors

The combination of two or more of the following conditions increases the risk of developing Lymphoedema after breast cancer surgery:

  • cancer and or removal of lymph nodes
  • radiation treatment
  • venous disease (bulging veins or removal of them)
  • surgery
  • infection
  • obesity
  • immobility
  • air travel
  • mosquito bite

(Source: Lymphatic Yoga Expert)

I refused radiotherapy on this basis, a slightly controversial decision but one I believe was right for me given the grade of my cancer.

Unfortunately however I am one of those people who is susceptible to mosquito bites, so I have taken quite a few precautions on that front (installing mosquito nets on my bedroom windows, carrying repellent and antiseptic wipes and burning citronella candles during the summer months).

As far as air travel goes, I am still very reluctant to get on a plane because of the associated risk. How much of a real risk it is no one really seems to know. It has been suggested that cabin pressure and general immobility during flight are the factors involved but the jury is out on how much the altitude contributes to it and if the wearing of compression garments (as a preventative measure) is advisable or not. Until I know more its one risk I wont be taking.

Medicine Cabinet

cabinetAs with the pocket first aid kit, finding a medicine cabinet for the house, which looked nice but could also hold a whole host of bits and pieces took quite a while. In the end I found this one from The Holding Company.

It’s white-painted metal with a chrome handle and can be fitted to the wall vertically, horizontally, with the door opening on the left, right or from above. It doesn’t have a lock though so I’ve put it quite high up on the wall out of the reach of little hands.

I have to say it looks really cool and it’s just the right size for everything I need to keep to close to hand, without looking too imposing.

First Aid On The Go

One of the first things I bought myself after leaving hospital was a first aid bag. I particularly wanted something that was small enough to fit in a handbag but big enough to hold everything I needed – a bit of a tall order, which is why it took me some time to find one I liked.


I eventually found this one on eBay and in it I keep:

  • After Bite stick (for mosquito bites and wasp stings)
  • Blister plasters
  • Ibuprofen tablets
  • Plasters
  • Insect repellent wipes
  • Co-Codamol tablets
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Paracetamol tablets
  • Tweezers
  • Lip Salve

The peace of mind it gives me is absolutely priceless so I make sure I always have it with me whenever I go out.

Citronella Candles Mosquito Repellent

citronella-candleIf, like me, mosquitoes just seem to love you, then the little buggers are a real concern during the summer months.

In my search for an effective mosquito repellent that I could use indoors and out, I discovered Price’s 100% natural citronella tea lights online. Reasonably priced and sold in packs of 25, I decided to stock up, ordering 4 packs.

When the postman arrived with my delivery I couldn’t quite believe the amount of packaging involved, so much so, I thought I’d been given the wrong order. Cutting my way through reams of bubble wrap, cellophane, brown tape and paper, I suddenly appreciated why so much packing was required.

Warning: Opening the parcel was like being hit in the face with a giant lemon. If you like a lemony smell then it’s fine, but if you don’t, these are not for you.

I took a couple of candles out of the pack and then proceeded to try to re-wrap the rest back up as quickly as I could to contain the aroma. Not sure where to store them for the best, as I don’t have a garage, I decided to put them in the under stairs cupboard along with the vacuum cleaner and my Christmas tree.

On an individual, candle by candle basis, they are actually very pleasant, but I have to say that a pack of 100 was a tad overwhelming.


Citronella oil, which is derived from some varieties of the lemongrass family, can be used as a safe, non-toxic insect repellent. Citronella oil can be applied directly to skin in diluted form, or it can be burnt in candles and lamps to repel insects over a greater area.

Burn candles and lamps which contain citronella oil in outdoor areas in order to repel insects over a wider area. By placing these products around the perimeter of a patio, backyard deck or pool area, you can be relatively free from insect activity for that summer barbecue or picnic.

Source: EHow

Why Do Mosquitoes Avoid Citronella?

As the insect searches out its next victim, they’re attracted to specific carbon dioxide and lactic acid from sweat glands. Recent scientific research suggests certain people are more genetically prone to get bitten. Citronella helps mask these naturally-occurring scents that act as a magnet for hungry mosquitoes. The odor of the oil prompts the flying pest to search for another host. Even if a mosquito does land on an area that’s been treated with the oil, they’re likely to make a quick exit as the greasy texture is also a deterrent.

Source: Healing Answers

Mosquito Swatter

If something is going to bite or sting your affected arm and you want to take action quick, try The Executioner. When it comes to mosquito swatters, you wont find anything as fun as this racket, or as effective. Simply press the button on the handle and swing. When the bug hits the screen it’s zapped!

Warning: One reviewer on Amazon wrote: My husband came zooming into the room with The Executioner and an evil grin and said ‘you have GOT to see this thing in action!’ CRACK, burst of light, the mosquito just vaporized. We’ve been stalking around the house ever since looking for stuff to kill. I fear for my immortal soul.