NEW YORK, June 30 — From painful itching to carrying viruses, mosquitoes are the undisputed enemies of vacationers. However, synthetic repellents can sometimes carry health warnings. Fortunately, several natural solutions can be rather effective at warding off these pests, so you can enjoy your vacation free from redness and swelling. Here are three natural alternatives to try this summer.

Coconut-scented soap

Some people seem to be mosquito magnets, while others seem to repel them naturally. This could have something to do with the soap they use, according to a team of American researchers who studied the effect of certain fragrances on these irritating insects. Published in the journal iScience, the study shows that coconut-scented soaps can keep mosquitoes away and reduce the risk of mosquito bites, despite the fact that each individual has a unique scent profile. In addition, the research highlights the fact that soaps with plant-based or plant-mimicking fragrances could, on the contrary, attract mosquitoes which, contrary to popular belief, feed not only on blood, but also on plant nectar. So, mosquitoes confuse scented skin with flowers of all kinds.

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Eucalyptus essential oil

Lemongrass and geranium essential oils are well known for their ability to repel insects, but eucalyptus oil can also help prevent itchy skin all vacation long. While roll-on applicators can be used to apply the product directly to the skin, it is possible — and recommended — to diffuse a few drops of eucalyptus oil into the air for a peaceful night’s sleep. Certain variants, such as lemon eucalyptus essential oil, can be used to soothe mosquito bites, reducing itching and redness. However, these oils should not be used during the first three months of pregnancy, or by children under 6 years of age.

Basil

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As well as flavoring summer dishes, basil is considered an excellent mosquito repellent, and for good reason: mosquitoes hate the smell of this herb. However, you don’t have to slather it on, or binge on pizzas and other basil-based dishes to keep mosquitoes at bay. If you’re renting a house or an apartment this summer, it’s a good idea to place pots of fresh basil, or bunches of basil, in the rooms of your rental, or on the windowsills, to help minimise mosquito bites. Basil is also known for its antiseptic properties, which means that simply rubbing its leaves on the skin can soothe itching. — ETX Studio