How to prevent mosquito bites on safari - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

How to prevent mosquito bites on safari

If you’re heading off on a safari tour of Africa, the last thing you want is to have the experience of a lifetime marred as a result of being under constant attack from mosquitos.

The pesky insects are responsible for more human deaths than any creature in history, so it’s always a good idea to take preventative measures to keep them away.

At best, mosquito bites can be very itchy and irritating, but at worst, the consequences of being bitten can be much more serious.

Here are five simple and practical ways to guard against the bloodthirsty pests:

 Anti-malarial tablets

As Americans crave more thrill-seeking adventures, and with Africa safari and holiday packages fast becoming a vacation staple, the risks of ill-informed tourists contracting Malaria is growing.

When on safari in regions in which you are susceptible to malaria, anti-malarial tablets are strongly recommended as a first defense against the disease. While the tablets are not 100% efficient (no medicine is), they will significantly reduce the risk of being struck down.

For maximum efficacy, prophylactic malaria medicines should start being taken up to a week before traveling, continued throughout the trip and for between 1-4 weeks upon returning home, as malaria parasites deposited following a mosquito bite can remain in the blood for several days.

The two main types of anti-malarial medicines on the market are Mefloquine and Atovaquone/Proguanil. However, these products can cause severe side effects, so please consult your doctor and read the product label before consuming.

Mosquito repellent

Mosquito repellent rich in DEET is a must between dusk and dawn. For best protection, the product should be applied to areas of exposed skin and to clothing. Your chosen mosquito repellent should consist of at least 20% DEET.

Alternatively, natural oils can be used to great effect, including Citriodiol, Citronella or Picaridin. The latter is odorless, making it a more pleasant and popular choice.

Sleep with a mosquito net

Prevent exposure to mosquitos by covering any open entrances with a mosquito net. To deter the pests even further and to increase the net’s performance, spray it with Permethrin.

Wear long sleeves and trousers after dark

Mosquitos are most active at dusk and dawn, so try to keep yourself covered as much as possible during these times.

Also, dark colors tend to be particularly attractive to the insects, so try to neutralize this in hours of darkness by wearing light-colored clothing, (but nothing too bright).

Watch your diet

You may want to think twice about having that chocolate cake for dessert, as high sugar consumption can leave you vulnerable to bites.

Mosquitos seek sugar to provide them with the energy they need to fly, so keeping an eye on your diet and keeping sugar intake to a minimum can make you less attractive to these undesirable creatures.

If you follow this advice you should return home fine and if you want to read more travel tips before you jet off you can also see our guide to luggage and travel.


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