Over the years, mosquitoes have gone from bothersome pests to feared disease-carriers and a worldwide concern.
Responsible for over one million people die from mosquito-borne illnesses each year, they carry some of the most serious and sometimes fatal diseases including Zika virus, Malaria, Dengue, Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, and West Nile Virus.
Mosquitoes are certainly a threat, but there are relatively easy ways to protect yourself while travelling.
- Appropriate clothing is a necessity
Clothing is one of the most basic and easy ways of making sure you aren’t a hot target for mosquitoes. Make sure you pack long sleeves, pants, and socks in your bag—even if your trip calls for warm weather. Stick to light colours as they are less likely to attract mosquitoes than darker colours. If you are travelling to the tropics, make sure you tuck your pants into your socks when walking through areas that are highly concentrated with mosquitoes.
2. Mosquito repellents are your best friends
Fill your toiletry kit with insect repellants that contain DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), PDE, or IR3535.
3. Carry mosquito netting
Even though most accommodations have air conditioning, it is always better to be prepared with an extra layer of protection. Prepare in advance by packing a travel mosquito net in your travel pack to surround your bed with when you turn in for the night.
4. Keep the windows shut
Before dozing off to the sounds of ocean waves through your open windows, do a thorough check to make sure that the screens are intact and have no tears or mosquito-sized openings. The safest bet is to sleep with the windows shut and the air conditioning on.
Mosquitoes are attracted to the smell of sweat, which is not great news if you’re going on a summer getaway. Make sure to shower and wash off the sweat after hikes or a long day of exploring so you’re not a target for pesky mosquitoes at night.
6. Beware of still water
Stagnant water such as lakes or creeks are mosquito hotspots.
If you absolutely must cool off in one of these bodies of water, get in, get out, and then reapply your insect repellant.