Night time biting mosquitoes, like the Anopheles, can spread all kinds of diseases. Some of these diseases, such as Malaria and Japanese Encephalitis, can be severe and life-threatening. Official guidance states that insect repellents should be applied every few hours, especially in hot countries where you can sweat and rub substances off the skin quickly. So how do you get a good 8 hours kip without being a meal for a mossie while you sleep? Don’t worry you do not need to set an alarm intermittently throughout the night – PHEW! Follow our top tips for avoiding mosquito bites while you sleep:
- Use a high percentage of DEET insect repellent: ideally 30-50%. The higher the percentage the longer it lasts. However, unless you are in the deepest of jungles, going above 50% doesn’t seem to make a better repellent and can irritate your skin. There are some very effective DEET equivalents too, such as Icaridin, for babies and people with sensitive skin conditions.
- Sleep under a net. An untreated mosquito net is as bad as no net at all so make sure it is impregnated with an insecticide. While you’re blissfully sleeping, any mosquitoes that try to get in your net are killed on contact. Re–treat the net regularly and repair any rips or tears in the net which can happen over time when it’s going in and out of your backpack. Carry some duct tape just in case to repair and hang your net in an emergency.
- Keep your repellents under the net with you so you can reapply before emerging in the morning. There are mosquitoes and other biting insects that are active in the early morning. They may be lined up waiting for you to emerge, especially if you are in a more rural/jungle setting with no air-conditioning.
- Keep all windows and doors shut. It may sound obvious but if they can’t physically get in you can sleep soundly. Use air conditioning instead of opening windows, wherever possible.
- Plug in a vaporiser containing repellents if you have an electricity supply (Don’t forget your travel adapter plug!) . This will knock down any biters that got in unnoticed.
- Fumigate the room. Use a knock down spray in the room you are staying in before you retire for the night to kill all the lodgers that have worked their way in during the day.
- Keep the room cool. Mosquitoes don’t like cooler temperatures. Again, air conditioning is a very useful tool if you have access to it.
- Treat your PJ’s and sleeping bags / liners with clothing treatment such as permethrin. Let it fully dry before you wear anything with insecticides on. This will kill mosquitos on contact.
- Book a high up hotel/hostel room. Mosquitoes tend to be lazy when it comes to flying. They like to avoid it where possible. The higher up you are, the better chance you have to avoid biters.
- Strict night-time routines: Apply your repellents just before bed on all exposed areas and don’t add any perfumes or night creams or after sun lotions on top of it. This will mask chemicals like DEET. Put lotions and potions on first. Let them absorb, then add repellents last thing.
Before you travel, book a consultation and our expert travel health Nurses. We’ll equip you with vaccines and medications against mosquito-borne diseases. We’ll recommend the best bite avoidance techniques for your trip. Don’t forget – you’ll get 10% discount on products if you are a travel clinic client!