For travelers, few things can mar the beauty of a new destination, like the incessant buzz of mosquitoes and the aftermath of their bites. But beyond mere annoyance, these tiny pests can pose genuine health risks. Here are ten hacks travelers online attest to.
1. Modify Your Diet
Reducing sugar intake might make you less attractive to mosquitoes. Although research isn’t definitive, many travelers vouch for this. Summer foods, which often contain sugar, attract mosquitoes. The scent of sugar lures mosquitoes and other insects. For example, due to its dairy content, ice cream causes the body to produce lactic acid, enhancing attraction. Sugary toppings amplify this effect.
2. Keep Clean
Our bodies accumulate sweat and dirt throughout the day and produce natural oils. These can give off scents that are particularly appealing to mosquitoes. By showering, you wash away these elements and significantly reduce the odors that mosquitoes find enticing. Moreover, sweat contains lactic acid, uric acid, and ammonia, which are known to attract mosquitoes. A clean body is less likely to lure these pesky insects.
3. Use a Thin Sheet
In numerous travel destinations, especially in budget accommodations like hostels, guests are often provided with thin sheets instead of thick blankets or duvets. These sheets might seem insufficient for comfort at first glance, but they can serve an important purpose for travelers: protection against pests. Use them to cover most of your body when sleeping.
4. Permethrin Magic
Consider spraying or washing your pillow with permethrin. This synthetic chemical acts as an insect repellent. One of the most irritating aspects of mosquito disturbances at night is their notorious buzzing around the head. By treating your pillow, you focus on protecting your ears and face, which are often exposed. Once applied, permethrin binds to the fabric’s fibers and can remain effective for several washes. This means you won’t need to reapply it after every laundry cycle.
5. Picaridin Protection
You might find that a picaridin spray is your best buddy. Some repellents leave the skin feeling greasy, which can be annoying. Because picaridin’s formula is often non-greasy, it can be used comfortably for the duration of its protection. Another benefit of its odorless nature is that, unlike some other repellents, it won’t overpower you with a strong smell. A single application can provide protection for up to 12 hours.
6. Hydrocolloid Patches
While primarily a remedy for bites, using hydrocolloid patches (often called pimple patches) on mosquito bites is a trick some travelers swear by for expedited healing. The discomfort from mosquito bites arises from the body’s inflammatory reaction. Dermatologists note that addressing this inflammation is the most effective treatment method. This inflammation is the reason why bites swell with fluid. Given that hydrocolloid patches are designed to absorb surplus fluid, their application to insect bites is a clever solution.
7. Be Sunset Smart
To outsmart these insects, understand their habits! Mosquitoes mainly buzz around during the early morning and evening hours. Direct sunlight can harm them, potentially causing dehydration or even death. As such, they are less active during the sunlit hours. To minimize exposure, consider scheduling outdoor activities during the sunniest parts of the day and winding down as the sun begins to set.
8. Accessorize With Citronella
Packing citronella wristbands can be a convenient repellent option. One user notes that they might not be as potent as sprays, but they’re easy to carry. Wearing one bracelet is never enough; users suggest wearing it on both wrists. Scientists still say that citronella bands are ineffective nonetheless, regardless of how many are worn.
9. Natural Scents
Leverage the power of essential oils such as lavender, mint, grapefruit, cedar, and eucalyptus. These aromas act as mosquito repellents due to the presence of compounds like linalool and geraniol, which are unfavorable to mosquitoes. Utilize lotions or sprays containing essential oils or apply the oils mixed with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, straight to your skin. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale and certain odors our bodies produce. Some natural scents can mask these attractive odors, making it harder for mosquitoes to locate us.
10. Vitamin B1 Boost
There’s a belief that consuming 100mg of vitamin B1 thrice daily can alter the odor of your blood, rendering it less enticing to mosquitoes. Starting this routine before and during your trip can offer protection. While some individuals attest to its effectiveness, the scientific consensus remains uncertain. One study revealed that a patch releasing 300 milligrams of vitamin B-1 through the skin didn’t deter mosquitoes. Moreover, studies on oral intake of vitamin B-1 supplements have yielded mixed results.
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