When and Where to Be Wary of Mosquito Bites

May 7th 2016

Avoiding mosquito bites is a matter of comfort for most people, but for some people, it could be a life-saving move. Prepare before summer comes by eliminating mosquitoes' breeding grounds in stagnant water. When traveling in areas with mosquitoes, wear your repellent and appropriate clothing to save yourself the itchy heartache of being a mosquito's favorite meal.

Timing and Location

Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, so going out into potential mosquito zones at these times can put you at greater risk of being bitten. Such zones include anywhere with standing water, which the insects need to breed, particularly if the water is also stagnant. Simple avoidance is the key; either remove the source of the water by emptying ponds, containers and troughs, or avoid these locations.

What to Wear and Do

The female mosquitoes, which are the ones that bite, appear to be attracted to darker colors. Wearing white or light clothing can therefore help to make you less attractive to them. Keeping arms and legs covered with light layers also makes it harder for the insects to access bare skin to bite.

The bugs are also attracted to carbon dioxide and lactic acid, which means being overweight and exercising heavily can make you more attractive to them. Maintaining a healthy body weight and showering with soap immediately after exercise helps to minimize these effects.

What to Use

If you have no objections to using chemicals, the most reliable insect repellent to deter mosquitoes is DEET. Adult preparations are most effective with around 20 percent concentration of the chemical, and most of these protect people safely and effectively, subject to a skin allergy test. A 10 percent or lower concentration is recommended for children. These products can be used on clothes and exposed skin, and they need to be reapplied regularly.

Treated mosquito nets are also available to protect you while you sleep. The best options contain pyrethroid resin. These last between three to five years and do not need another coating.

Other insect repellent chemicals, and many natural options, rely on scents that are off-putting to mosquitoes. The mosquitoes may still choose to target users of these products, despite the scent, making the preparations useful but not as effective as DEET. They are therefore not recommended for malarial regions. Products in this category include icaridin, citronella, lemon eucalyptus and neem.

Conclusion

For most people in the developed world, mosquito bites are just an itchy nuisance. However, for those visiting or living in countries where malaria and other bloodborne tropical diseases are an issue or for people who are allergic to mosquito bites, they are a much bigger problem. Knowing how to avoid the worst mosquito risks and protect yourself from bites is an important step in safeguarding your health.

Sources

Healthline.com "Mosquito bite allergy" http://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/mosquito-bite#Overview1
DailyMail.co.uk "Desperate to avoid mosquito bites? Read our skin expert's guide to enjoy an itch-free summer" http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3071784/Desperate-avoid-mosquito-bites-Read-skin-expert-s-guide-enjoy-itch-free-summer.html
FitForTravel.nhs.uk "Insect bite avoidance" http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/general-travel-health-advice/insect-bite-avoidance.aspx

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