Mosquitoes can carry some nasty stuff that won’t only ruin your vacation but also cause you pain and discomfort when you get home. Mosquitoes spread such dreaded diseases as malaria, dengue and yellow fever, chikungunya, West Nile virus (WNV), and Zika virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control CDC), these diseases are affecting hundreds of millions of people each year worldwide, and tropical and subtropical climates are most susceptible. Here is some information about mosquito-borne diseases and some of the efforts underway to create better products and technologies to keep you safe.
The Aedes Mosquito
One of the things that all of these diseases have in common is that they are transmitted by to humans by the Aedes mosquito. The mosquito itself becomes infected with the virus when it bites a person who has one of these illnesses; then it spreads it along to others through its bite. Unfortunately, there are no vaccines for these diseases, and some are more serious than others.
Consequently, your best defense against any mosquito-borne disease is not be bitten by these nasty insects in the first place. Fortunately, there are some effective products and innovative advances that can make your next warm-weather vacation mosquito-free.
Choosing the Right Mosquito Repellent
First and foremost, always wear mosquito repellent. Since “Zika” has become a household word in the past year, many consumers have discovered the wonders of DEET. When you shop for mosquito repellent, most of the ones that have been found to be most effective against mosquitoes contain DEET. These include brands such as Repel 100, OFF Deep Woods, and Cutter Skinsations.
If you’d rather avoid DEET, the one “natural” DEET-free spray that rates well is Cutter lemon eucalyptus insect repellent. When you apply mosquito repellent, be sure to cover your hands and feet and don’t forget to re-apply every 4 hours.
Advances in Mosquito Bit Prevention Technology
Several companies have created innovative products to enhance mosquito bite protection. For example, Invsiaband is a microfiber bracelet that releases geraniol. This essential oil blocks the mosquitoes’ ability to detect the presence of the person wearing the bracelet.
Other companies are marketing apparel that is treated with permethrin, an odorless insect repellent that delivers protection from disease-carrying bugs such as ticks, flies, and mosquitoes. Permethrin doesn’t prevent these insects from landing, rather once they land they are incapacitated and often killed before they have a chance to bite.
Two major companies are marketing permethrin clothing, ExOfficio and L.L. Bean. Consumer Reports conducted a detailed study of several of these company’s permethrin-treated shirts. The better performer with new shirts was the L.L. Bean Crew (No-Fly Zone) shirt, but the performance of both shirts began to suffer after multiple washes. The best results came from testers who both wore the treated shirts and sprayed DEET insect repellent on their bodies and clothing.
If you live in a warm climate or have tropical vacation plans looming, you can still have a fabulous time. Research your destination before you travel so that you the area’s particular risks. Remember that the best way to avoid these common infectious diseases is not to get bit by a mosquito, so take appropriate precautions and make use of these unique prevention products.