Essential Oils for Summer

Essential Oils for Summer:
Summer is such a busy time – time outdoors (with relaxation – and bug bites!), travel, lots of sun (and sunburns!), and hopefully, lots of fun.  You can maximize the fun and minimize the discomfort by putting together a “tool kit” of essential oils to deal with anything summer can throw at you.
Here are some suggestions:
For the Beach and Outdoors:
Jellyfish stings – You may have heard that jellyfish stings are best dealt with by using chemicals like urine or vinegar on them.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case and the Red Cross does not advise them.  Their advice is instead to rinse the sting with ocean water and treat for any swelling and pain you might have.  Some essential oils that might help  with the swelling and pain include lavender, tea tree and rosemary essential oils.
Sunburn – As with jellyfish stings, sunburns are best treated with essential oils that help with pain relief and swelling.   Your best bet to soothe the affected area is to mix a few drops of essential oil in  refrigerated aloe vera gel.  Essential oils that can help ease the pain include lavender, calendula and roman chamomile.
Poison plants (ivy, sumac, oak, etc.) – All of the “poison” plants release oils that create rashes and blisters.  To soothe these hot, itchy rashes and avoid spreading the toxin, try a compress consisting of a wet, chilled washcloth with a few drops of essential oil.  Lavender, tea tree and roman chamomile will all help to ease the burn.
Bug bites – Pesky summer bugs are best dealt with no only with essential oils that ease the burn (like lavender, roman chamomile and tea tree) but with essential oils that repel the bugs in the first place.   Lavender and tea tree are used for repelling insects, and lemon eucalyptus, catnip and juniper oils are widely used for this purpose as well.  Of course, citronella essential oil is also a perennial bug repellant favorite.
For travel:
Staying alert while driving – Summer brings road trips, which can bring about road fatigue.  To increase driver focus, make sure to get enough sleep before driving and roll down the windows for some fresh air.  Use a few essential oils that increase focus and alertness; you can put them in a car essential oil diffuser, or put a few drops in a spray bottle which you mist in the vehicle as needed.  Some great essential oils for alertness include peppermint, rosemary and pink grapefruit.
Fear of flying – The stress and strain of crowds, small places, lugging baggage, and waiting for long periods can be overwhelming, especially if flying makes you anxious in the first place.  To combat the fear and stress of flying, try calming essential oils in a necklace diffuser or on a handkerchief you can periodically sniff.  Some wonderful calming essential oils include orange, lavender, frankincense and roman chamomile.
To avoid catching colds on a plane – The “canned”, recirculated airplane air feels stifling, even though the Centers for Disease Control reports that newer-model planes use HEPA filters which eliminate 99.9% of the bacteria and viruses in the air.  While the CDC’s report is reassuring, it never hurts to employ a few germ-fighting oils  to fend off the coughs and sneezes of other passengers in close proximity.    You can put a few drops in a handkerchief in your breast pocket or on a scarf around your neck.
          Some great essential oils  to use for this purpose are clove, cinnamon, tea tree oil and lavender essential oil.  Just be careful not to get the cinnamon and clove essential oils directly on your skin, as they can cause irritation to sensitive individuals.
          Finally, a note of caution – make sure you research the essential oils you use to be sure they are not contraindicated for you and that you are using them safely.  Please also be aware that some essential oils (especially citrus essential oils and bergamot) can increase sun sensitivity, and avoid applying them before spending time in the sun.  Enjoy your summer!!