Did you know that mosquitoes are one of the 10 most dangerous animals in the world? The little insect sits up there right next to deadly wildlife like jellyfishes, crocodiles, lions, and scorpions.
Small it may be, mosquitoes can be very deadly. According to the U.S. Centre for Disease Control, mosquitoes kill more that one million people a year just through the transmission of malaria. Other common mosquito-borne diseases include Dengue fever, and the most recent epidemic, the Zika virus.
If you are travelling to Southeast Asia, prepare for mozzies. The tropics is a hotbed for mosquitoes; the humidity, warm temperature, and abundance of water make for the perfect breeding ground. Diseases aside, they are also a giant nuisance when you’re trying to relax but can’t stop slapping and scratching your arms and legs.
Fret not, here are some tips on protecting yourself from the pesky little blood suckers:
When is the best time to avoid mosquitos?
The mosquito that carries dengue, the Aedes Mosquito, does fly during the day but is more likely to bite in the early morning and evening. Mosquitoes tend to be most active at everyone’s favourite time – sunset. The sunset is so pretty you remain blissfully unaware of the chomp-chomp-chomp happening at ankle level. Going out for the evening? Sunset cocktails? Mozzie spray as you walk out the door.
In addition to using quality mosquito repellent, there are other ways to prevent mosquito bites.
1. Lather up a loofah: Exfoliate your skin with a scrub of loofah. Exfoliating eliminates chemical combos from perspiration and dead skin cells that attract mosquitoes.
2. Don’t smell so nice: Avoid aftershave or perfume. Instead, use unscented soap and deodorant.
3. Eat more B vitamins: Folklore believes that eating food rich in Vitamin B like Marmite and Vegemite, as well as local ingredients make you less appetising to mosquitoes.
4. Use mosquito coils: Restaurants and bars often burn mosquito coils on the floor, it’s what the locals use when they’re fed up with mosquitoes. The smoke from the coil may smell, but are really effective. If you’d like to use coils on your hotel balcony, you could ask housekeeping for a few, or buy your own at any convenience store.
5. Play badminton with the mozzies: For a chemical-free alternative, older kids (and man-boys) might love an electric mosquito bat – a masochistic sport you may or may not want to encourage. Available at most shops, including Tesco, it dispatches a mosquito with a – we admit – very satisfying pop. Extra points if it sparks.
6. Go for sleeves and light coloured clothing: For some reason, mosquitoes are more attracted to dark clothing than they do light clothing. Long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks will protect your skin from bites, but make sure they are light and cooling enough that you don’t overheat in them.
7. Prepare for itching: Mosquito bites can be very itchy, especially if you are sensitive to insect bites. Hydrocortisone creams and antihistamine will help soothe the redness, itching and swelling. It’s a good idea to come prepared with your own, but if you forget, local brands that you could find include Mopiko or Tiger Balm.
8. Mosquito nets: There is nothing more annoying than trying to sleep with a mosquito buzzing right in your ear. If your accommodation provides mosquito net, it’s because you will need it. It shouldn’t be necessary if you keep your doors and windows closed in the early mornings and evenings to prevent the mosquitoes from entering your room, but at basic accommodation where the windows and roofs are open to the elements, you’ll wish you had one.
9. Fan yourself: If all else fails, leave the fan and air-conditioning on. Mosquitoes cannot fly in strong wind, they need a still environment to move around. A table fan aimed directly at your face will stop the mosquito from buzzing around your ear.
We’ll leave you with this one last mosquito tip – Male mosquitoes do not bite. Mosquitoes drink plant nectar and fruit juices for energy. Only the female mosquitoes would feed on blood to produce fertile eggs.
Story via Koh Samui Sunset. Read their article for more on questions on mosquitoes in Thailand.
Cover pic credit: ladycarehealth.com
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