Rule Number 1: Take Anti-Malarial Tablets
While they are not 100 % efficient (no such medicine is), anti-malarial tablets are highly recommended for travellers exploring regions at risk.
Prophylactic malaria medicines are usually taken a few days to a week before departure, throughout the trip, and 1-4 weeks after travel as the malaria parasites could still be in one’s blood.
Generally speaking, there are two types of anti-malarial medicines on the market: Mefloquine (such as Lariam or Mefaquin) and Atovaquone/Proguanil (like Malarone). Please consult your doctor beforehand as such products may cause severe and permanent side effects.
For sensitive people, a good alternative is Doxycycline. NB: Doxycycline makes you sunburn easily, so you should wear a hat, long sleeves and sunscreen whenever you are in outside daylight.
Rule Number 2: Use Mosquito Repellent
A good mosquito repellent is compulsory between 6 PM and 6 AM. Apply the product to the skin (around neck, arms, legs and ankles), and to clothing for best protection.
What is a good mosquito repellent?
The best mosquito repellent is a product that contains at least 20 % of DEET, the most active ingredient in insect repellents.
Effective alternatives to DEET oils include Citriodiol, nature’s most effective insect repellent (produced from eucalyptus Citriodora oil), Citronella or Picaridin. The latter is believed to be more pleasant to use, it is relatively odourless, and has a gentle, clean feel to it.
Rule Number 3: Sleep with a Mosquito Net
Sleeping with a mosquito net is also a great way to prevent mosquito bites, although it can be quite annoying when the insects get trapped underneath your apparel. 🙂 To further your chances of a good night sleep, spray your net with Permethrin.
Rule Number 4: Wear Long Sleeves and Pants After Dark
Try to “camouflage” yourself at both dusk and dawn, when the nasty little creatures are most active.
Also wear neutral colours (light-coloured clothing), as dark colours tend to attract the insects.
Rule Number 5: Control your Diet
Do you have a sweet tooth? Because mosquitoes are very fond of sugar, their major fuel for energy and flight. In other words, people with higher sugar intake will arguably be more prone to mosquito bites.
Might be a good excuse to start a little “regime” and avoid some of those cakes and yummy pastries! 😉 Most sweet rolls contain yeast that, once exuded through the pores, alters one’s smell. Mosquitoes can pick up those odors from miles away!
Other Useful Tips
- Switch off unnecessary lighting, as mosquitoes are attracted to it.
- Use mosquito coils under your bed or dining table to repel the insects. Mosquito coils are highly effective (despite their somewhat uninviting smell), and can last as much as 8 hours.
- Don’t use too much perfume, deodorant or after-shave. Mosquitoes are more attracted to it than anyone else around you!
Did You Know? Interesting Mosquito-Related Facts
- Mosquitoes can literally “smell” your blood from as far as 50 m away.
- Only the female mosquito feeds on human blood, which contains protein used by the insect to lay its eggs. Consequently, only female specimens transmit the malaria disease.
- A common misconception states that “mosquitoes can transmit the HIV virus”, yet this is not true. In fact, HIV cannot survive in the mosquito.
- Presently, over 350-500 million cases of malaria are being reported each year, out of which over 1 million are deadly.