Most travel destinations will have their share of mosquitoes & biting insects. Not only can bites get itchy & infected, but the mosquitoes can carry diseases that enter your body when bitten. Even if you’re taking malaria tablets, or if malaria is not present at your destination, avoiding bites is essential for protecting yourself against infection.
Use the right Mosquito Repellent
Deet is a highly effective and safe synthetic insect repellent. It comes in varying amounts of the active ingredient, with 50% volume being the strongest available. Deet is suitable for topical and sub-tropical areas. Deet can corrode some types of plastic, so avoid getting it on anything other than your skin. Deet will be your best protection against bites for backpacking and jungle treks. It’s also vital that you regularly apply Deet repellents if you’ve been advised to take malaria tablets – they are not 100% effective and won’t protect you against any other diseases spread through bites.
There are synthetic Deet alternative mosquito repellents (Picardin, Saltidin, Bayrepel) that are more suited for use in non-malarial areas and areas outside of the tropics. Often marketed as sensitive Deet alternatives, these are often suitable for small children. These repellents are great for treks in Europe, camping and walking where there is no risk of malaria, but ticks & biting insects that carry other diseases.
Treat Your Clothing & Fabrics
If you’ll be travelling in places with particularly high numbers of biting insects or mosquitoes, treating your clothes and fabrics with insecticide will increase your protection. Permethrin can be used to spray or soak clothing, bags, tents & mosquito nets – it will kill biters on contact.
Keep Yourself Covered Up
Having little exposed skin is probably the simplest way to avoid some bites so keep well covered, especially in the mornings and evenings when mosquitoes are most active. Long sleeves and covered legs are a must!
Prevent Bites While You Sleep
Insecticide treated mosquito nets are really important for protecting any exposed skin while you sleep. They create a safe zone where you can sleep without irritation or infection causing bites. Keep doors & windows closed to prevent mosquitoes entering your sleeping space. Insecticide plug-ins and portable emitters are really useful for knocking down any biters that have found their way into your room/tent.