Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:55 pm
Summertime is also tick time. The little bloodsuckers lie in wait for prey in fields, forests and meadows. This includes not only humans, but also dogs, cats and other animals. A tick bite can cause serious health problems. In addition to chemical agents, natural alternatives are increasingly being used to protect against the bloodsuckers. Coconut oil deters ticks and at the same time serves as a care product. Below is some information on the application and mode of action of this natural product.
Especially in the months from March to October, the blood-sucking arachnids are on the rampage, making life difficult for humans and animals alike. They lurk near the ground, in bushes and undergrowth or in tall grass waiting for their prey. A tick bite should never be dismissed out of hand, because these parasites can transmit dangerous diseases such as Lyme disease or tick-borne encephalitis (TBE).
To avoid the bites of the bloodsuckers, it is important to protect yourself and your four-legged friends properly before every trip into the woods and meadows. It is not always necessary to resort to chemical means. These can be incompatible for humans and animals under certain circumstances and side effects can occur such as
- inflammatory skin changes
- stomach and intestinal problems
In addition, ticks become resistant to such agents over time with regular use. Good alternatives to the “chemical club” can be the use of natural means. Coconut oil has proven itself as a tick repellent. This not only smells pleasant, but also cares for and naturally helps with tick bites.
Coconut oil against ticks
Coconut oil is also known as coconut fat or coconut butter. It is mainly used in the kitchen for baking, frying and deep-frying and for the care of skin and hair. But it can do even more, is a healthy source of energy and is also used to treat irritated skin and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The natural oil is extracted from the white pulp (copra) of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera L.). It contains up to 90 percent saturated fatty acids, of which
- up to 10 percent caprylic acid – a natural insecticide used to dissolve the chitinous shells of insects
- 10 percent capric acid – effective against fungal, viral and bacterial infestations
- up to 60 percent lauric acid with an antimicrobial effect – kills bacteria, viruses and fungi
- Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid, which ticks do not like at all. Experiments show that even the use of a ten percent solution of lauric acid 81 to 100 percent of ticks left the surface treated with it.
The scent and ingredients of coconut oil have a deterrent effect on ticks. Treated body parts are avoided by them. If a small bloodsucker has already bitten, they fall off after a short time after treatment with the oil.
The effect of chemical insect sprays is based in principle on the active ingredients icaridin and DEET, as well as on certain fatty acids such as lauric acid. Since this is also massively contained in coconut oil, this is a good home remedy for tick repellent and thus for preventive protection against tick bites. The remedy is free of any side effects, so it can also be used on babies, toddlers, young animals and puppies.
Tip: Coconut oil also helps against fleas, lice, mites and is a natural dewormer for dogs and cats.
Application in humans
The oil of the coconut is excellent for the prevention of tick bites in humans. In addition, it also helps with bites that have already occurred. Before each foray into nature, the skin areas to be protected from ticks should be rubbed with a portion of coconut oil. The amount depends on the areas of the body to be treated. Normally, the product can be applied to large areas. At the same time, the skin is cared for and protected from the sun.
The coconut oil melts at temperatures above 23 °C. It should therefore be rubbed between the hands. It should therefore be rubbed between the hands until it becomes liquid. Then the oil can be spread on the skin like a body lotion.
Since ticks always prefer warm and moist areas of skin, the following parts of the body should always be particularly well protected:
- Lower leg
- back of the knee
- Head, but also
- shoes and socks
In the head area of small children, the ears, neck and hairline are particularly at risk. However, you should not rely only on the protective product, but after each stay outdoors it is necessary to search the body for ticks. Normally, coconut oil provides protection against ticks for up to six hours. Therefore, it is advisable to apply the oil several times a day.
Note: Coconut oil has a light UV protection with a sun protection factor of 4. Nevertheless, it is not a substitute for sunscreen in strong sun.
Protection for dogs and cats
Dogs and cats are also very vulnerable to tick bites. Dogs can contract babesiosis (canine malaria) and Lyme disease as a result. The trade has various spot-on preparations, i.e. anti-tick products with chemical active ingredients. However, these do not get all animals well. Virgin coconut oil is more suitable as a protective agent against ticks. It can simply be rubbed into the fur and forms a protective coating that keeps the ticks away. Many quadrupeds love the smell of the oil and by the way it is also not dangerous when the fur is licked off.
Depending on the size of the animal, a pea- to walnut-sized piece of coconut oil is enough. This is warmed between the palms and then rubbed into the fur. The following also need special protection
- Inside legs
Be careful, however, when rubbing that nothing gets into the eyes. Initially, the coat may be a little greasy. However, after a few hours nothing of it is visible. Sometimes it can be problematic with cats. These do not let themselves be smeared so easily something in the fur. Due to their constant urge to groom, they can lick the oil out of their fur. They should therefore be distracted with games, cuddling or treats until the oil is absorbed. The application to the four-legged friends should be done several times until a complete tick protection has developed.
- once a day for two to three weeks
- then twice a week and finally
- then once every four to six weeks
However, after each walk, the body must also be checked for the presence of ticks.
Coconut oil as a tick bite treatment
After being bitten by a tick, it is important to remove it as quickly as possible. The pathogens need between two and twelve hours to enter the bloodstream. The bloodsucker must be removed completely with its biting tool. Special tick forceps should always be used for this purpose. The procedure is then as follows:
Do not squeeze the tick
- otherwise bacteria will get into the wound
- Grip the animal with the tick forceps directly above the skin
- pull out the tick by turning it gently and slowly
- do not tear or pull straight
- head may break off and remain in the wound
- then apply oil to the wound
- this kills all pathogens
If the puncture site is red, swollen, hot and painful, a doctor or veterinarian should be consulted.
Tip: Only virgin cold-pressed coconut oil with a certified organic seal should be used against ticks. Products from “Dr. Georg” and “Rapunzel” have performed well in tests. Discount products may contain harmful substances such as mineral oil and softeners.