Dear Crunchy People, Don't F**k Up This Zika Thing

by Elizabeth Broadbent
Originally Published: 

There is a time and a place for crunchiness. Use coconut oil on your eczema and your dandruff. Essential oil your baby to sleep. Snarf sauerkraut and slurp Kombucha to heal your gut. Slap some Arnica on that sprained knee. Aromatherapy your stress away. Who knows — it might even work.

But we’re in the big leagues now.

Crunchy people, don’t fuck this up.

Yesterday, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported that the Zika virus was found in mosquito samples taken from the Miami Beach area. These are the first Zika-carrying mosquitoes found in the continental United States.

My state has had 46 travel-related cases of Zika so far, and because we’re actually just a muggy, mosquito-ridden swamp, it’s simply a matter of time before it establishes itself, like it has in Florida and Puerto Rico, where 1 in 4 people, including pregnant women, will eventually have the virus. We know that Zika has only mild symptoms and no specific treatment. It poses little danger, other than an increased risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome. That is, unless you’re pregnant, in which case it can cause devastating birth defects, including microcephaly. It’s also been implicated in eye defects, hearing loss, and impaired growth.

Dr. Joseph Mercola, a well-known and controversial alternative medicine proponent, has already released articles calling the establishment of Zika in the continental United States nearly impossible (it’s not), and referring to the CDC and other agencies attempting to secure funding to treat the disease as a “propaganda machine.” This is a big problem, because a certain segment of the crazy crunchtastic sees Dr. Mercola as a legitimate news source, and at least 36,000 people have shared these articles. This means those 36,000 people aren’t worried about Zika, because 1) you can only get it overseas, and 2) it’s all overblown anyway. We can only hope they live on the polar ice cap.

There’s only one way to control Zika, and that’s to control mosquitoes. The CDC has a whole crazy protocol when a Zika case is found, including eliminating all standing water and hand-fogging with pesticides. Hippies agree that dumping standing water will, indeed, help eliminate a mosquito-born illness. But if you don’t have to worry about mosquito-born illness, why bother?

I’d imagine that there are some hippies who do believe that Zika is a threat. They may be as dangerous as the first segment. See, these are the people who bought into the multi-level marketing scheme that’s essential oils, and now use them for everything from getting the baby to sleep to curing cancer. What else could they be but a mosquito repellent? There are tons of recipes for natural mosquito repellent out there, both with and without essential oils.

Here’s the problem with that. As anyone who’s tried to use them knows, natural mosquito repellents don’t fucking work. You need DEET, people. DEET. The horrible death chemical DEET will keep away all the mosquitoes. That’s why aid workers and the CDC use it instead of magical citronella and lemon fairy dust. It’s not some corporate chemical scam. It’s a desire to not actually get bitten by mosquitoes.

Crunchy people, I envision other nightmare scenarios. Remember how I said there’s no way to treat Zika? Don’t manufacture one involving essential oils and garlic and lemon peel and apple cider vinegar. Pregnant women throw up enough. You don’t need to force this crap down their terrified, terrified throats. And you don’t need to treat anyone else at all, so don’t try. Of course, mainstream medicine could be lying, and Zika could cause irreverible brain damage in the perfectly healthy, non-pregnant male, but at that point, do you really think your lemon peels will save him? Oh, right. You do. Please ignore everything I’ve just said.

Do not tell people that if they just eat Paleo, they won’t get Zika. Or smother themselves in coconut oil. Or drink Kombucha. Or eat sauerkraut. I can only assure you that these things will not protect you from the Zika virus. Neither will staying inside for nine months — I killed a mosquito in my bathroom the other day.

And when the inevitable vaccine arrives, don’t say it will kill us all. Don’t rant and rave about monkey DNA and mercury and aluminum and formaldehyde all those other things that have been disproven to harm the human body. Don’t fear-monger all over Facebook. Get in line, get your jab, and thank Jesus you live in the age of Jonas Salk. It could save your pregnancy. And your baby shouldn’t suffer for your crunchiness.

So crunchy people, what I’m really saying is this: Leave it to the experts (the CDC, not Dr. Mercola). Stick to the facts (Zika poses very real risks to fetuses; there is no treatment for Zika). Kill mosquitos with chemicals, not peaceloveandhappiness. You’re murdering disease-carrying insects, not sending them into the Great Beyond. So, for the love of all things holy, put down the oils and pick up the DEET, please.

This article was originally published on