At home or away, mosquitos and other pests have the annoying habit of ruining your walks in the forest, your evenings around the campfire—and your sleep! This summer, make the most out of your outdoor activities by learning more about biting insects.
Mosquitos aren’t attracted by your beautiful eyes, but rather by odours, food, the microbes that live on your skin, and the carbon dioxide you exhale. Unfortunately, there are no soaps or shampoos that will protect you. When you sweat, flying insects can smell you from up to 20 meters away! Here are some tips to help you minimize the nuisance.
Dress with care
Dark colours attract insects, but you need to do more than just wear white. Cover yourself with a long-sleeved shirt (tucked into your pants), a hat, and socks. And don’t hesitate to use tape to seal all the openings. If it’s very hot outside, opt for linen.
Repellent: A must
Regardless of what you may have heard, you need repellent to protect yourself. Unfortunately, the most effective products are DEET based and therefore toxic. In countries where diseases are transmitted by infected insects, the DEET concentration may be as high as 80% or even 100%.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Children are more vulnerable to possible reactions to repellant. Avoid application to their hands, face or any scratches on the skin, as contact with the eyes, lips or an open wound could cause a reaction. If you must also use sunscreen, apply it first.
Tried and true
Prevention is always a good idea. Ensure your mosquito netting is intact. If necessary, invest in a high-quality mosquito net bed canopy. The best thing you can do after sunset is put mosquito repellent lanterns on your porch or in your home. You should also eliminate any standing water in and around the yard.
When traveling abroad, avoid mud and adobe homes and thatched roofs. Keep any unscreened doors and windows closed tightly.
Fact or fiction?
There is no evidence that citronella, fans, ultrasound, light and darkness, vitamin B, smoke, showers, or repellent bands have any affect on biting insects. You’ll need to use your best judgment, based on your principles. And if alcohol makes you sweat more, limit your consumption.
Ditching the itch
Been bitten? The important thing is to act quickly. For fast relief, try these proven home remedies: soap, baking soda, vinegar, ice, hot baths, sea water, rubbing alcohol, mint toothpaste, and patience! If home remedies aren’t providing any relief, an antihistamine should remedy the situation.
Biting insects are small, but they can cause big problems. Before leaving on a trip, find out about the risks at your destination and take measures to minimize any inconvenience.
Lastly, since anyone can experience an unexpected adverse reaction, remember to take out travel Insurance so you’re covered in an emergency.