CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - While mosquito repellents with DEET are considered the best way to fight mosquitoes, essential oils have become a tool for parents looking for natural options for everyday products.
It is a lifestyle trend taking over households, including Megan Torreson's home.
Like any mom, she worries about her kids.
"I had a panic moment as a parent because I was mopping the kitchen floor and she had come in afterward and she was playing on it with her toys, putting them in her mouth," Torreson said. "I looked at the back of the bottle and the label and it says do not allow children to be around this."
For her, it was a wake-up call that led to some big changes in her everyday life.
"Now, all of our cleaning supplies are essential oil based," Torreson said. "We use it for our bugs sprays, sunscreen, everything."
It's a lifestyle that's gaining momentum.
Becky Brown owns the Natural Health Organic Foods store in Cape Girardeau.
She has been living natural for 17 plus years and loves to share her knowledge with others.
"In a bottle like this (4 oz.), you're only going to use about 20 to 30 drops, per bottle of spray that you're making," Brown said. "So, you're going to have this all season if not for another season as well."
Becky says it is what works for her, but it may not be for everyone.
From our research, many natural ingredients are being studied right now as a mosquito repellent. However, a lot more still needs to be done to verify their safety and effectiveness.
Becky does warn that you should never put essential oils directly on your skin without diluting it first.
There is often the misconception that if an essential oil comes from a plant, it must be safe.
But think about it this way, a lot of plants contain materials that are toxic, irritating, or likely to cause allergic reactions when applied to the skin.
"They are natural, they are less toxic for sure than the chemicals in bug sprays, However, you want to make sure that you're using them wisely by not putting too much on small children," Brown said.
That is because a child's skin is thinner and can absorb dangerous amounts.
With that said, it is important to do your own research.
That is what Megan did.
She weighed the options, which has brought her to where she is now.
"We have kicked out as many toxins or harsh chemicals from our home as possible," Torreson said. "At this point, it is a lifestyle, like, you've seen benefits for your family. You've seen the benefits for yourself and there's no turning back once you get there."
If you use essential oils, make sure you store them in a safe place away out of reach of children. Certain essential oils could be toxic if ingested.
There are recorded cases of poisoning from essential oils, primarily from swallowing it.
And no matter how you choose to use essential oils, diluting it is key to avoid skin irritation.
Click here for information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on regulatory standards.