We all hate mosquitoes. We have pulled together a top 10 list of what you can do to minimise the risk of attack from mosquitoes.
- Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. Always keep some repellent in your bag to ensure that if your schedule is disrupted or you lose track of time, you can apply the repellent anywhere. Travellers often get carried away, having a few drinks at the beach bar and fail to notice that the sun has set. Mozzies love these foolish tourists and hone in for a feast at dusk! The rule of thumb is to get into a routine. Take note of the sunset and head back to base to prepare for prevention.
- Baton the hatches and close the door. If you have a window open, ensure the insect screen is intact or failing that, make sure the window is closed. If your room has air conditioning then keep it running because the low temperatures will help keep the mozzies away.
- Keep your skin covered between sunset and dawn. Long sleeves are great, as are trousers. Whilst it may be tempting to show off your tan - it won't be as pretty when you are covered in bites. If mosquito activity is fairly low, or if you are going to be inside and away from the pool or beach, then shorter garments may be okay as long as you have used repellent
- Take some really strong repellent and make sure you use it. Don"t be fooled by brands that that say they are jungle strength ensure that you have a brand which has a large percentage of DEET. Anything lower than 30% is likely to be ineffective and the higher the percentage, the longer you will be protected. I went to Kenya on Safari and used 100% DEET and I didn't get one bite! Strong Deet is not suitable for use on children.
- You can buy a mosquito repellent plug-in for your room that is designed to kill a range of bugs. If you want to sit outside at night, keep the lights dimmed to a minimum and burn a citronella candle. These are widely available from most garden centres. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to sleep outside or a dorm where you have less control, then a mosquito net impregnated with repellent is advisable.
- Chose you diet carefully. By this, we are suggesting that you up your intake of garlic and marmite as mosquitoes apparently are repulsed by the smell! Eating bananas on the other hand may attract the mozzies so you may want to give them a miss.
- Avoid using scented shower gels or bubble baths, no matter how nice they may smell because if you like the fragrance, the chances are that bugs will too. Go for non-scented products, including deodorant, wherever this is possible.
- Keep to the paths wherever possible and avoid taking short cuts through the gardens or trees. Avoid anywhere at night where there is an expanse of water, even the ocean, as mosquitoes thrive in these places. Lakes, ponds, rivers and pools are a no no after dark if you want to stay bite-free.
- Don't be caught out by forgetting to put repellent on the back of your neck or ankles. It is vital to pay particular attention to the areas of your body that are exposed when you are out and about. Check your room before you go to sleep, turn the air conditioning off for a moment and listen for the high piercing sounds of the insect. Take a look around to see if there are any mozzies taking a snooze on your wall.
- Taking 1 vitamin B tablet a day and a zinc supplement is also said to help the body by giving off an odour that mosquitoes don't like. You won't be able to smell it but apparently it is there!