As someone who gets attacked often, or I guess I should say “used to” get attacked often, by mosquitoes, I have taken a great personal interest in the topic of how to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Over the past 2 weeks, I can tell it is mosquito season once more, as the patients are coming in with a lot of bites on their skin.
This past year, even more attention has been brought to the subject in light of the Zika virus problem mainly effecting South America, Central America, the southern portion of North America and Africa. I feel fortunate to live in Oregon, as at the moment the Zika virus has not become a full-out threat to our beloved pregnant friends. However, worldwide spread of diseases has a better opportunity to spread with the world getting smaller. One concern of mine is the 2016 Olympics, being held in Brazil. We have a lot of Nike employees and other people who might be traveling down that way, and could potentially bring it back…. so anyone traveling to a “hot zone” please pay attention here.
Mosquitoes can transmit Zika, Dengue, Yellow fever, Chikungya and malaria. Malaria is transmitted by a different mosquito than the other four diseases. If one gets infected with the Zika virus, they are unlikely to know it, as 80% of people are asymptomatic. For the 20% with symptoms, these may include malaise, nausea, vomiting, fever, itching or rash. It is not a serious life threatening disease to healthy non-pregnant people. The Zika virus can be spread through sexual contact from a man to a woman via semen. If a pregnant woman is infected with Zika, the baby may end up with microcephaly (a small head) and brain issues. Therefore, women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, and male partners of these women, must be careful.
Apart from the fear of spread of diseases from insects, it is a major irritation to most people to have the itchy insect bite reactions. Once bit, applying a strong cortisone cream like Clobetasol or Betamethasone twice a day is very helpful in making the itch go down, and the healing to go faster. You would need to get a prescription from a dermatologist to get one of these. I’ve learned that I really don’t like to travel without it. So please ask us if you need one.
Prevention is the best medicine though, right? Mosquitoes are very active at twilight and during daylight hours. I have found Avon’s Skin-So-Soft (check Amazon) to be very effective, safe, and not sticky. It has SPF in it too. My other favorite thing is the Ex-Officio clothing. By the way, mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing, so WEAR LIGHT COLOROED CLOTHING. I’ve had terrific luck with their Bugsaway clothing.
Want some natural remedy ideas? How about lavender? Lavender is a natural mosquito repellent and easy to use. Put a little drop of lavender oil on your pillowcase or wear as a body lotion or fragrance. Citronella is another option, which comes available in candles. Try a few drops of dish soap in a bowl of water, placed around the perimeter of a deck to discourage biting visitors. Sage and Rosemary can work also, but to work best they need to be burned. Make sure all window screens are repaired, and any stagnant water nearby is drained. Avoid traveling to the hot-zones if possible.
Have a great summer, play safe