Avoid getting bitten!

30/12/2011

If you are planning a walking trip, picnic or any outdoor activity whether it is here in the UK or abroad, mosquitoes and other biting bugs and insects are quietly waiting to ruin your day. In the UK getting bitten by insects is annoying and uncomfortable, but in many countries – including many popular tourist destinations – insects carry diseases and it is imperative that you protect yourself. 

It is recognised that some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others, factors that contribute to this include our blood type, which clearly we cannot do anything about and our odour which we can. Our own personal smell can be affected by many things but when it comes to attracting or repelling insects these include hygiene, our diet, perfumes and deodorants. 
 
The latest reports are telling us that smelly feet and socks are hugely attractive to mosquitoes. Mosquitoes do not see us, they smell us – particularly our breath and sweat, meaning what we put in or on our bodies will affect the odour we release. Perfumes, deodorants, body lotion and hair products will often appeal to insects, particularly those which are sweet smelling.
Luckily there are a lot of ways to naturally repel insects, and if you are planning a trip, here are a few tips that might help keep the mozzies away. Your clothing is important, light coloured, loose fitting clothing is less likely to attract insects, and they can and will bite through tight clothing. Mosquito nets, both those attached to your hat and larger ones for your bed are brilliant at deterring them. 
 
Vitamin B rich foods are said to repel mosquitoes so munch away on garlic, marmite, vegemite, chilli and bananas it is worth noting that there is no scientific basis to these claims, but if it works for you, what’s the harm? Tonic water and bitters are also claimed to have some benefits. 
 
Being sensible about what you are doing will also help prevent getting bitten. Dirty, stagnant water is a breeding ground for biting insects, so avoid getting too close, standing or swimming in waters you are not sure about.
 
There are a number of natural insect repellents for those who do not want to put chemicals on their skin, for example citronella oil, which can be bought in the form of body lotions and sprays as well as candles and incense sticks. 
In countries where there is a high Malaria risk or other inset borne disease, a chemical based repellent such as deet is advisable. Ensure you follow all directions and understand in what parts of the world you may be at risk.