This is a guest post.
Mosquito bites can be extremely irritating when you’re travelling, meaning it can be next to impossible to enjoy those balmy nights outdoors. These troublesome insects can also be extremely dangerous, spreading a host of diseases including yellow fever, dengue fever and malaria. In addition, mosquito species spread different diseases so you can never be completely free of risk: for example, insects spreading zika virus tend to bite during the day, while malaria infections are caused by mosquitoes flying around at night.
The last thing you need when you get home from holiday is to be seeking malaria treatment, so it’s wise to stay as safe as possible while you’re away and avoid bites altogether.
Avoid Peak Biting Times
It’s wise to research your holiday destination and take appropriate action. In Africa, for example, mosquitoes spreading malaria tend to be out at midnight. But in South East Asia and South America, the disease is commonly spread by bites in the early evening. Both dawn and dusk tend to be high-risk times too, largely because the wind typically dissipates during these times, allowing mosquitoes to fly around.
Use Wind To Your Advantage
Mosquitoes are not terribly good at flying when it’s windy, so if you can choose a breezy destination, the chances of being bitten are lower. When the weather is hot and still, use a fan pointed downwards so that mosquitoes, which typically fly close to the ground, are blown away.
Don’t Scratch The Itch
If you are bitten, then you’ll have to seek malaria treatment and take the right medications to protect yourself from infection. However, it is also wise to avoid scratching if at all possible. Attacking that itch only causes inflammation and worsens the bite. Try and resist the urge by applying an ice cube to cool the skin.
Though DEET has a bad reputation due to the perceived adverse reactions, it can be very useful in preventing mosquito bites. Bad reactions normally occur when it’s snorted or swallowed, and though some people might be allergic even when DEET is rubbed onto the skin when used as directed, it is normally safe.
DEET should not be sprayed over the body and clothes as a perfume. Instead, it should be carefully applied to areas where the skin is thin: the wrists, forehead, ankles and elbows. The concentration of DEET determines not how well it will work, but how long it will last. For 90 minutes or less, a 10% product is extremely effective and can be reapplied.
Wear Light Colours
Mosquitoes that fly during the day use vision to find their food. Dark colours stand out well, while lighter hues are less attractive. Remember that mosquitoes fly close to the ground, so choose light coloured shoes, socks and trousers to avoid detection.
Choose Clothes With A Tight Weave
Just because you’re covered head to toe, does not mean a mosquito cannot bite. In fact, cotton and linens rarely keep these biting bugs away. High-tech athletic wear, however, normally has a tight weave and can be effective at stopping bites. Also, any clothing that offers sun protection will also be tight enough to prevent mosquito bites.
Reduce Your CO2 Emissions
Mosquitoes primarily look for carbon dioxide (CO2) when identifying sources of food so reducing the amount you emit can help avoid bites. This might seem impossible, but lowering your heart rate means your body produces less CO2. You should avoid eating spicy foods and drinking alcohol if possible, while pregnant women should use other anti-bite tactics as they’re particularly vulnerable to mosquitoes due to the high levels of CO2 their bodies’ product.