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Sand Fleas?? I'm freaking out! Not sure if we should go...

Houston, TX
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Sand Fleas?? I'm freaking out! Not sure if we should go...

Hi, My husband, best friend and I (all mid 40s) are going the last week of October for our birthdays. This is our first time to visit Roatan. I put a deposit down on a house and my friend and I are freaking out with all the reports of the sand fleas. I get welts from mosquitos and am olive skin complected while my friend has pale skin. We are so worried that these pests will ruin our vacation. We usually go to Playa del Carmen but wanted to try a different spot. The thought of having to spray Deet or Skin so Soft all day long in addition to tanning lotion for 7 days is truly worry-some and I do not know if we should cancel the trip. (My daughter was bit up in PDC in May which was our first time to experience this and she STILL has red blotches on her skin.) Any suggestions would greatly help.

Roatan, Honduras
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1. Re: Sand Fleas?? I'm freaking out! Not sure if we should go...

Try the product I use that is island made and tested ~ US agencies say similiar products more effective over a longer period of time than DEET. Their tests were on products made of essential oils with a soy bean oil carrier. This product comes in two versions the oil one (yellow label) and a water one (blue label). Both have Latin fairies on the label. And it is sold in many locations around the island. If you do not spray, you will more than likely get bitten either by sand flies or mosquitoes. The good news is that they do not carry West Nile Virus.

2. Re: Sand Fleas?? I'm freaking out! Not sure if we should go...

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Roatan, Honduras
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3. Re: Sand Fleas?? I'm freaking out! Not sure if we should go...

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that Children under 6 should avoid using DEET based repellents containing 10% or more.” “Because of their lower body weight and undeveloped immune system kids are particularly vulnerable to reactions to DEET.” “Most DEET based repellents contain 14% to 40%”.

DEET was developed in the 50s; it is a solvent (removes nail polish and disolves the glue in shoes; the organ (skin) absorbs 56% of it; it makes many sick at their stomach just to be in a confined space with someone wearing it. I've wondered why the CDC continues to approve it. Canada use to make some of the highest conscentration DEET products ~ now I believe none are produced there.

New York
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4. Re: Sand Fleas?? I'm freaking out! Not sure if we should go...

What is the name of "the product I use that is island made and tested"?

Roatan, Honduras
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5. Re: Sand Fleas?? I'm freaking out! Not sure if we should go...

I can't tell you the name because I am the maker and it would be self promoting.

I do need to correct something I stated earlier. It is not the CDC that does the approving. It is the EPA that approves DEET as an insecticide. It was created quickly to keep troops from falling sick to malaria.

The CDC says that it is an effective repellent against insects carrying West Nile Virus, malaria, and dengue; they also go on to recommend other 'natural' repellent alternatives.

Natural alternatives aren't on the 'patent' and big business lobby band wagons.

I posted health organizations' studies showing that natural healthy alternatives are actually more effective over a longer period of time than mid range DEET formulations. I consider high to be the 99% Muskol I use to buy in Michigan that was made in Canada.

It is interesting that DEET came up for reapproval by the EPA about the time that West Nile Virus made its mark and based on my research several years ago was stated as a reason for reapproval by the EPA. West Nile Virus is in a different risk category than malaria as malaria is now curable.

The other question that plagued me during my research is why are all products that hint at being a repellent forced with obtaining approval from the EPA as an insecticide when the repelling of insects is quite different than killing them.

I'm sure that this post has reached a point beyond the interests of most. None the less, I fail to understand why someone would promote the use of something when an alternative offers so many more positive aspects.

There are many products on the market now that are mixtures of essential oils that repell insects as effectively as DEET ~ look for high conscentrations of essential oils to carrier ~ not synthic scents as they are not the same at all.

Essential oils are derived via steam distillation of the plant; the oil is a very small amount of liquid that rises to the top or the hydrosol ~ consequently they are expensive.

One recent convert stated that they cut down on their repellent cost after switching as it did not require as much as the DEET products. He does computer work on his deck.

During my first two trips (long ones) to Roatan 7 years ago, I tried a variety of different alternatives to DEET and still returned with many weeping bites after returning to DEET. The option was using DEET and its sting to the existing bites; horrible headaches from its use; gumky nail polish and flip flops that came apart or more bites.

I created my own alternative and after much testing for conscentration levels and components ~ which I still test and improve upon ~ I came upon an affordable mixture that has been working well for the last 4+ years. It is a small cottage industry that creates acceptable jobs for Island women. It is my hope that it will create a culturally acceptable means of self reliance for others via a move to actual distilation of the abundance of plants that are native and have repellent essential oils.

Canada
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6. Re: Sand Fleas?? I'm freaking out! Not sure if we should go...

Interesting. Have there been studies on the effect of Deet and sunscreen on the reef? With so many swimmers in tropical places, it must be a concern. Or maybe not?

Tucson, Arizona
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7. Re: Sand Fleas?? I'm freaking out! Not sure if we should go...

Linda Kays Body Guard is the name of the product made on Roatan. If I remember from prior posts you can find it in a lot of places on the island and I know you can also order it and have it shipped to you if you want to.

Traveler043-we travel to a lot of places that have major issues with no see ems, sand fleas and mosquitos. They love my husband and ignore me. In Bonaire and Turks and Caicos bug spray was often on the tables when we went in to restaurants and bars. Point is, it never ruined a vacation and you don't have to spend every minute spraying yourself down. Spray before you go outside and just use common sense and you shoud be fine.

I found these great little packets, kind of like a hand wipe packet, that you can easily carry with you when you are out and about. I think they are "Deep Woods Off" and you can find them in the bug spray section.

8. Re: Sand Fleas?? I'm freaking out! Not sure if we should go...

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Removed on: 03 February 2011, 10:26
menlo park
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9. Re: Sand Fleas?? I'm freaking out! Not sure if we should go...

I was prepared for bug bites on my first trip to Roatan and again on my last trip in May, but it didn't happen. I bought some Deep Woods OFF but barely used it. And there was almost no wind while I was there. Maybe the secret, since I seem to be high on the bugs' bite list, is that I was in the water probably half of my waking hours, with 2-3 scuba dives and 2 long snorkels every day. Then a mid-day nap in a tight room. Then happy hour and meals in in a wooden floor area. I guess my feet rarely saw the sand. Not that that would have stopped the mosquitos

I saw a few sunworshipers in chairs in the ocean a few feet from the beach. I wonder if that works for them in keeping the bugs away. Or is it just that you can do that in Roatan because the waves are so calm. Sure looked cool.

But truth be told I haven't personally exerienced a bug problem in Rotan and have been bitten far worse on the Mayan coast of Mexico with gale force winds blowing most of the time.

Flowers Bay...
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10. Re: Sand Fleas?? I'm freaking out! Not sure if we should go...

Traveler043,

I would plan on having to use a repellant of some kind at times and of course sunscreen.