We have had some gorgeous autumn days recently, and knowing that winter is on the way makes it that much more precious to get outdoors and enjoy it while it lasts.

But what do you do when the cold weather really sets in?

Last year saw a record number of Kiwis heading off to warmer climates for a winter vacation, so perhaps with the impending cold season nipping at your heels, you’re already thinking of doing the same.

Important information about the Zika virus and your winter travel plans

Depending on your choice of destination, travel plans might require a little extra planning for Zika protection.

Zika has become a high profile disease recently as it has reached pandemic levels in South America and strong evidence surfaced connecting it with fetal damage during pregnancy.

Though it was originally isolated to Africa and Asia, Zika is spreading. Various Pacific Island countries are included in the risk areas for Zika Virus infection, and some cases have been reported also in New Zealand (something to remember for the summer months).

The disease itself is considered relatively mild and non-fatal, with symptoms (that do not always occur) including fever, joint pain, headaches, rashes and conjunctivitis.

However, as it is spreading around the globe, the new connection with risks during pregnancy have put it more firmly on the radar for anyone living or travelling in Zika zones, especially as there are now various cases of it being transmitted to women via sex with infected men, up to 3 weeks after their exposure to the disease (Italy, France, USA, and New Zealand included).

The most common means of transmission is via daytime Aedes mosquitoes and since currently there is no medicine or vaccination available, the main recommendation from Centres of Disease Control is for people to take thorough repellent and protection measures whenever they might be at risk of exposure (pregnant women should avoid non-essential risk).

pregnant women

Is it true that pregnant women are being advised to wear DEET?

Until recently there were no natural alternatives recognised by Centres for Disease Control and comparable agencies.

DEET was the main repellent recommended as sufficiently powerful against disease carrying insects.

The official line is that DEET is safe to use during pregnancy and on children over two months of age, based on a maximum once-a-day application of between 10-30% (2-5 hours protection), and yes, they say, pregnant women should use DEET rather than risk infection.

My personal opinion on DEET is that there is not enough information to discount the worries surrounding it and accumulative immune-damaging toxicity, though certainly plenty of people do trust DEET for use during pregnancy and on children.

I’m not sure how a once-a-day application would work in practical terms with such things as sweating and swimming reducing its effect, but since some fatalities have been linked to excessive use, it seems essential to use it sparingly and carefully.

Eucalyptus Lemon essential oil is officially stated as effective as DEET for protection from Zika-carrying mosquitoes

The great news is that Eucalyptus Lemon has now been proven to be an effective alternative repellent. And official websites are including it in their list of recommended products for Zika protection.

To insects, the Eucalyptus component is suffocating and the Lemon component is repellent, and the combined properties make it very effective.

This is especially good news when you consider that Eucalyptus Lemon also has known anti-viral and other immune-boosting properties working for you when you use it.

As is often the case with essential oils, science has confirmed what practical usage had already shown.

Long before it became an official DEET alternative, I was introduced to the repellent qualities of Eucalyptus Lemon by my own aromatic doctor back in 1982.

I travelled across the African continent and even while pregnant in Ghana, I avoided risky anti-Malaria medication and stayed safe from all kinds of bugs by protecting myself with Eucalyptus Lemon.

Expert advice on how to use essential oils for safe natural protection against Zika

Since there is very limited usage information for Lemon Eucalyptus on the official disease control sites, I would have to say that Absolute Essential is almost certainly the best place to get safe-dosage information for using essential oils against Zika.

There are no governing bodies for safety recommendations on essential oils so getting information from a reliable, trusted source is essential.

All dosage guidelines here are given in my capacity as a respected child and maternity specialist, and based on over 20 years of clinical experience.

Please note, as explained in my recent post on safe essential oils for pregnancy and infants, I only recommend certified organic, pure essential oil extracts for safe prescription.

Eucalyptus Lemon Eucalyptus citriodora (organic)


Normal, adult dosage:

Diffuse 10-20 drops to repel mosquitoes from the immediate area (more effective in a room than outdoors).

Blend 20 drops with 1 tsp of carrier oil (coconut oil, almond oil etc. – preferably pure, virgin) and apply to exposed skin.

Blend also as above with body lotion.

Repeat every 2 hours or after swim or excessive sweating

During pregnancy:

Diffuse 10 drops to repel mosquitoes from the immediate area (more effective in a room than outdoors).

Blend 10 drops with 1 tsp of carrier oil (coconut oil, almond oil etc. – preferably pure, virgin) and apply to skin.

Blend also as above with body lotion.

Children 2 months +:

Diffuse 10 drops to repel mosquitoes from the immediate area (more effective in a room than outdoors).

Blend 10 drops with 1 tsp of carrier oil (coconut oil, almond oil etc. – preferably pure, virgin) and apply to skin.

Blend also as above with body lotion.

Babies younger than 2 months +:

You can have a baby in an area that has a 5-drop diffusion.

In baby’s room blend 5 drops with 5 drops Lavender Spike (also repellent and baby-safe).

Apply pure Jojoba oil to exposed skin first. Then apply a blend of 1 drop to ½ tsp of pure baby oil (Sweet Almond) to same area. Being a liquid wax, the first application of Jojoba helps to seal the skin and limit essential oil absorption, keeping it on the skin surface.

Applications may be repeated every 1-2 hours, up to 8 times a day.


Medicinal-grade Therapeutic Plant Oils must be 100% pure. At Absolute Essential we use certified organic or wild grown (sustainable) plants to produce our oils and all extraction processes are strictly controlled to produce the best quality oil with maximum purity and therapeutic value. See more at Absolute Essential.