Nothing kills your hiking and camping moods like the annoying, buzzing, tiny mosquitoes hovering around you all the time. We’ve all been there when trying to enjoy a nice nature walk or just sitting around and then the tiny insects disrupt your peace. Besides being super annoying mosquitoes are known to spread some of the fatal diseases around the world. At least a million victims of diseases transmitted by the mosquitoes die each year in the United States alone. Most of the victims are immigrants or travelers during summer. According to scientists, unfortunately, this trend may tend to increase due to global warming and weather change. This is alarming especially if you leave in the tropics or fond of traveling there during your summer break. Some of the major diseases caused by mosquito bites include; malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, and zika virus just to mention a few. There are a few tips on how to avoid this nasty mosquito bites and keep you safe for the whole of your trip.
Some of the major diseases caused by mosquito bites
Malaria is the most common mosquito-spread disease and it ranks among the most fatal diseases. If you are planning to visit a mosquito-infested area it is advisable to take antimalarial tablets or get the vaccination prior to your visit. According to a research done by the CDC around 1500 1500 cases of malaria are reported each year in the United States alone. Most of these cases are from immigrants and travelers. Apart from taking the vaccination and the antimalarial tablets, it is advised to always take precaution to avoid being bitten by the mosquitoes.
• Yellow fever
This is not a common disease but it is equally fatal when contracted. The disease is spread by the Aedes and haemogus mosquitoes in both rural and urban areas of Africa and South America. Fortunately, this disease can be easily treated and the number of cases is not that alarming. Most of the countries require a certificate when entering or leaving the country to certify that you have taken the yellow fever vaccine. Yellow fever can produce a flu-like symptom which is easily transmitted or at sometimes it can be life-threatening.
• Dengue fever
This disease is mostly found in the tropical areas like the Caribbean, South America, and Asian countries. According to World Health Organization, dengue fever is found in almost 100 countries in the world. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine yet for this disease which is quite alarming as the disease seems to be spreading fast. The disease is spread by the Aedes mosquito and you will be shocked to realize that this mosquito usually bites during the day, unlike other mosquitoes.
This disease is not life threating and it only has mild symptoms which can go away after a week. The viral infection causes headaches, joint pain, muscle pain, fever and a rash. These symptoms can last a few days or at most a week. As earlier said this disease is not fatal and rarely people go to the hospital or die from it. However, infections during pregnancy can cause birth defects as they can be passed from the mother to the young fetus. It is advisable for pregnant ladies to always take precautions
How to avoid mosquito bites
• Wear light-colored clothes
Most mosquitoes are attracted to dark-colored clothes and darkness. This is the reason why most mosquitoes attack during the dusk and dawn hours as they are active at this time. It is believed that wearing light colored clothes can repel the attacks of the mosquitoes. However, brightly cored clothes tend to attract wasps and other stinging insects. For this reason, it is advisable to wear more neutral shades of colored clothes as they have a great effect on the mosquitoes.
• Use of insect repellents
The use of mosquito repellents is one of the most effective of methods of avoiding mosquito bites. Mosquito repellents can be bought over the counter from your local drug store or even from the supermarkets. The repellent is easily applied on the skin and preferably to the exposed areas of the skin like your hands and feet. There are many brands available in the market and it is always advisable to get an insect repellent that you are not allergic to. Also, depending on the strength of the repellent you can apply frequently to avoid mosquito bites.
• Avoid being out certain times of the day
It is a known fact that mosquitoes are more active during the dusk or dawn as they prefer the darkness. Also, these hours are cooler and less windy hence they provide favorable conditions to the mosquitoes. Hence, if you want to avoid mosquitoes it is more favorable for you to plan all your activities during the day when the mosquitoes are less active. Although, some species can attack during the day like the Aedes which can prove a little bit tricky.
• Avoid mosquito hotspots
Ever heard of the phrase prevention is better than cure? Then this totally applies here. There is no point in you visiting or camping at a mosquito hot spot area. You can avoid these places and instead choose a perfect spot for you to have fun. Luckily for you, organizations like the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have all the information you need about the most viral areas that are affected by mosquito-spread diseases. Not to mention the improvement in technology where you can easily search the areas prone to yellow fever, malaria or even dengue fever. If you are doing some serious trekking, consider a hiking watch with GPS enabled, so you know if you are entering a hotspot.
• Use an insect net hat
When you are hiking to areas prone to mosquitoes it is always advisable to have the insect net hat at all times. This will prevent you from getting nasty mosquito bites from your surroundings. Hiking is most especially done in densely forested areas where there are a lot of insects and it is always a great idea if you are safe than sorry. Always be prepared with your own mosquito net hat and be ready to enjoy the outdoors.
Get your groove on and enjoy the outdoors without the scare of getting the mosquito-spread disease. These simple tips on how to protect yourself from mosquito bites while hiking will come in handy.
All the best!