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Little Things That Bite 

Most people travelling from the northern hemisphere to the southern are acutely aware of the discomfort and dangers that can be brought about by the smaller living creatures on this earth - and small creatures seem to make up for what they lack in size by being particularly aggressive.

But travelling  is a hazardous business whichever direction you go in, and those who have spent a holiday trying to avoid the blackfly in northern Canada know that going north can be as uncomfortable as going south.

As you will see from reading this section, dangers are as likely to come from walking in the mountains, or taking forest walks, or swimming in the sea, as from sunning yourself on a beach infested with sand fly or having a drink on the veranda when the mosquitoes are out.

The danger may be less likely in terms of frequency, but more likely in terms of degree. So wherever you go take your travel kit with you, or at least the oil or a couple of oils that are most applicable to your environment. They take up so little room that it's foolish not to take them, because by the time you get back to your hotel room it may be too late.

Even in the green and pleasant land of Britain you van get bitten by a snake. A number of harmless-looking plants cause nasty rashes and many more cause allergic reactions in some people.

Fish, jellyfish and sea urchins conspire to make a swim in the ocean, if not a horror movie on the par with jaws, at least enough to ruin a precious holiday. The list of insects that bite is almost endless and includes bees, wasps, fleas, bedbugs, gnats, midgets, sandflies, water-ticks, hornets, and that pernicious spreader of the world's number one killer disease, the mosquito.

All the oils in the travel kit have antiseptic properties  and can be applied direct to the skin if you get bitten by any insect, and the sooner the better, but try to acquaint yourself with the more specific action and remedies recommended in this section so that you are well prepared to deal with those little creatures  that bite and sting.

As far as insect bites are concerned, prevention is a fairly straight forward matter and a much better option than cure.  As a general rule use lemongrass or citronella to keep insects at bay, using the airborne methods  - the room method of steam bowls, heat source, paper strips at the windows, or light bulbs, both inside and outside, or on ribbons hung from trees  or any other atmospheric method outlined in this book. To deter insects from landing on your skin, as a general rule, lavender is a better option.

If you have a plant spray with you, new or used only for essential oils), use that to spray lemongrass or citronella diluted in water around the room. If you have your own ensuite bathroom, let the water run steaming hot into the bath and put a couple of drops on that before going out for the evening  and leaving the steam to waft  through the open bathroom door and into your bedroom.

Also put a couple of drops on to the hot tap from the bathroom or, preferably, boiling water from a kettle, put a couple of drops of essential oil on the surface of the water and place them strategically by the windows or other places where unwelcome visitors may enter your room. 

You can also use lavender, thyme or peppermint to do this, or makeup the very effective synergistic blend below:

Insect Deterrent Synergistic Blend

Thyme  4 Drops
Lemongrass 8 Drops
Lavender 4 Drops
Peppermint  4 Drops

It is worth making quite a bit of this synergistic blend and taking it with you because it can be used in several different ways. Overnight, or during your afternoon siesta, put two drops of essential oil on a cotton-wool ball or tissue and leave it somewhere near your bed.

Mosquitoes are the most aggravating little night raiders and can be dealt with by practically any essential oil, but lavender and red thyme are the best. To discourage insects from disturbing your meal on the balcony, cut up lengths of ribbon or paper - tissue paper will do - and put one drop of essential oil on each piece and hand them around the balcony. Hanging these aromatic strips above a window will make an insect think twice about entering your room.

Used in massage oils in the days before going on holiday, and during it, the essential oils will discourage most insects from dining on you. The synergistic blend above can be used to good effect for that purpose.

Dilute 2 drops in 1 dessertspoon of oil for a body rub or simply add the neat essential oil to any lotion or cream you may have.

You ca make a water based splash by adding five drops of the blend above to 1 tablespoon of  witch-hazel and then diluting it in 4 tablespoons of water. Shake the ingredients well in their container before putting onto your body. Instead of the witch-hazel, you can substitute an alcohol such as vodka, but use a dessertspoonful instead of the tablespoon. Splash the liquid on to your body and smooth it over the surface of the skin.

Before going out in the evening put on some oil-based body rub, and if you are prone to being bitten the simple solution is to prepare in advance an oil 30ml base vegetable oil to which you have added 30 drops of lavender oil and rub a little of that on the parts of the skin that are exposed.

You can do the same before going to bed to protect you during the night. This amount will last you the whole holiday and more. If you are in a rush before leaving home, just throw the lavender oil into your case along with a small plastic bottle and fill it with local vegetable oil when you arrive, following the 1 drop per 1 millilitre base oil rule.

The ankles are a prime target for mosquitoes and certain other little creatures. A walk along the beach, for example, ca be less than romantic when the sandflies are out. Covering the ankles with cotton socks is a simple and effective measure and you can make sure that your legs are left bite-free by putting a neat drop of lavender oil or citronella on the top of your socks.

Alternatively, put the drops of essential oil on the bottom of your trouser leg or on the cotton of your spadrilles.

Reference: The Fragrant Pharmacy: Valerie Ann Worwood 

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