August 2020

Educate Patients About Natural Tick Repellents

It’s estimated that about 300,000 people may get Lyme disease in the US each year. This number continues to rise. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid tick bites. As the natural insect repellent market grows, it’s important to educate patients about which products actually work.

Many products promoted as natural tick repellents contain essential oils. Lavender oilcitronella oillemongrass oillemon eucalyptus oil, and peppermint oil are some of the most common ingredients in these products. Tell patients that while some of these ingredients might help prevent mosquito bites, only lemon eucalyptus oil has been shown to prevent tick bites. Applying lemon eucalyptus oil extract up to three times daily may reduce tick bites by about 65% in people living in tick-infested areas. If patients want to give it a try, tell them to look for products containing at least 30% lemon eucalyptus oil extract, such as Repel Lemon Eucalyptus.

Garlic is another ingredient commonly promoted for tick bite prevention. Most of these products are oral and contain high amounts of garlic. Tell patients that while there is some evidence that consuming high doses of garlic might reduce tick bites, they shouldn’t rely on garlic as their main repellent. And consuming large amounts of garlic might cause side effects in some people.

Reinforce to patients the potential seriousness of a tick bite. While some natural repellents might help, they should only be used alongside proven prevention methods, such as wearing long pants and high socks when walking in tick infested areas, applying DEET or picaridin-containing repellents, and checking their clothes and body for ticks after being outdoors.

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2024 NatMed. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. NatMed is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.