How to Avoid Mosquito Bites
Going on holiday? Make sure you are protected from mosquito-borne diseases.
Published: Wednesday 19 April 2017
Chances are you will be going on holiday in hot climates sometime this year. Beach and sunshine? Trekking through a dense jungle? You could be sharing your time of relaxation with some mosquitoes that carry viruses and parasites and can transfer them to you and your family as they feed on your blood.
In which case, you need an effective way to avoid and repel them.
Beware of Breeding Grounds
Mosquitoes need humid and warm environments in which to breed - they lay their eggs on stagnant water. So, it goes without saying that bogs, stagnant pools of water and even a dirty bird bath could be infested and should be avoided.
It is useful to have several levels of protection. That way, if one fails, another can still deter insects. Mosquito nets are made with a fine mesh specifically designed to keep mosquitoes away from you. The holes in the mesh are small enough to stop the mosquitoes from entering but still allow air to circulate as you sleep.
Another excellent way to deter the insects is to block their path to your skin with something as simple as wearing loose-fitting long trousers, sleeves and socks. Mosquitos cannot bite through loose clothing and it is believed that they are attracted to dark colours, so it is best to avoid this and wear more brightly coloured clothing.
Also, you can make the environment less favourable for the mosquitoes by turning up the AC in your room.
Being aware of what type of mosquitos resides in the country you are visiting will reduce the risk of you getting bitten.
- Anopheles Mosquitos – These mosquitoes can spread malaria and are most active at night, but are active at dusk and dawn too.
- Aedes Aegypti – These mosquitoes can spread yellow fever and dengue and are most active during the day and suck and dawn.
DEET - Your New Best Friend
Sure, DEET (Diethyl Toluamide) reeks of disinfectant, but that’s the point. Some mosquitoes are nothing more than a nuisance, but other species carry microorganisms which can lead to diseases including:
- Dengue Fever
- Yellow Fever
- West Nile Virus
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Zika Virus
Transmitted to humans when the insects feed, if left untreated, these diseases can be lethal. While you can use natural repellents such as citronella and lemongrass essential oils, they are not as effective as chemical solutions containing DEET. These alternative oils are not recommended by Public Health England Advisory Committee on Malaria Prevention.
You should not spray DEET like its perfume on your clothes and body, but squirt a little onto your hands then rub it onto places such as your elbows, ankles, wrists, forehead.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Before travelling, make sure you have done your research on the area you will be visiting and you are fully aware of the risks. Your local pharmacist can give you advice on the subject as well. Along with insect repellents and aftercare relief, you should also get some pre-emptive protection against the microbes with vaccinations.
Vaccines reduce the chance of disease, even if you are infected. Some countries even require a yellow fever vaccination and will not allow you to exit the airport without a valid certificate of your vaccination.
Pharmica offers a wide range of Anti-Malaria Treatments, such as Malarone and Lariam
Authored by Carolina Goncalves
Originally from Portugal, Carolina graduated university in 2009 with a six-year Pharmacy degree. Carolina has been with Pharmica since the company’s inception in 2015. As our Superintendent Pharmacist, she ensures the safety, health and wellbeing of our patients and customers.
Carolina is also a specialised travel pharmacist, and has an extensive knowledge of travel vaccines. Her approach to pharmacy revolves around patient-centered care.