With a wide range of insect repellents on offer, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by choice. Here are the basics you need to know when it comes to finding the best-suited repellent:
To DEET or not to DEET?
Insect repellents fall into two distinct categories – those that use DEET (diethylmetatoluamide) and those that don’t.
DEET is the most common active ingredient found in insect repellents and comes in the form of a mild yellow oil, which can be applied directly to the skin or clothing as a deterrent to mosquitoes. Scientists and doctors usually recommend DEET if travelling to a country with a high risk of diseases such as malaria, dengue fever or Zika – check before you go.
Natural repellents are better suited for young children, pregnant women, and those who suffer skin reactions from using DEET, with the most common ingredients including lemon (citronella), eucalyptus and picaridin (found in pepper plants).
How long do repellents last?
While most repellents state they offer all-day protection this usually means up to eight hours, so remember to top up throughout the day. Active travellers are well-advised to spray another layer of DEET on at some point during the day – with so much exploring to be had, it’s easy to sweat it off without realising, while water-based activities will wash it off.
If the thought of spraying yourself with chemical infused repellents doesn’t appeal, try a more natural approach of opting for light-coloured clothing. Mosquitoes and tsetse flies are attracted to very dark colours, so embracing pastel and neutral shades of clothing will help prevent them coming close, while keeping you cool in the sun.
Khaki colours are recommended for those on a wildlife safari, but avoid wearing white, as this is most visible to animals. Active travellers should opt for bright coloured clothing such as oranges and reds that are easy to spot against outdoor backdrops, making you easier to identify in the rare case that something goes wrong and you require medical attention.
Whether it’s a crack in the doorway, or a window that’s been left open – mosquitoes and bugs will test their way inside in all matter of ways. Once they’ve found their way in they’re a pain to get rid of, but following these simple steps can keep them out of the way and ensure you get the best night’s sleep possible.
Use air conditioning instead of windows
As tempting as it is to open windows and let the room air, keeping them shut means there’s one less way for insects to sneak their way inside. Unless you are satisfied that the windows and doorways are fully mosquito proof, it is best to opt for alternative solutions to cool down, such as air conditioning. Contrary to belief, air-con vents are considered to be sealed, which means the chance of insects entering the room is less likely.
Inspect windows and doorways for holes
On arriving at your accommodation, inspect the room for crevices and cracks that mozzies could use as entry points. Where possible (and within reason) ask your accommodation for something that can be used to block holes that have unwanted ventilation access to outside.
Use a mosquito net
These should be inspected for holes prior to use, but can easily be fixed with a mosquito net repair kit. Tucking loose ends of netting under a mattress or ground sheet (if camping) is also an effortless yet effective step to ensuring that bugs don’t creep their way into bed with you. Where possible avoid sleeping against the sides of the netting, as mosquitoes are known to bite their way through the mesh, and apply an insecticide on the outside of the net as an additional repellent.
There’s nothing more satisfying than settling down after a long day of hiking or sight seeing and airing your feet. But we have to stop you right there.
The mosquitoes that can cause malaria are most active during the early hours of dawn and at sundown, which coincides with the time you want to relax and put your feet up. But instead of stripping off, now is when you need to cover up most. Those spare socks that you packed? Put them on. While you’re rummaging through your bag, grab a long sleeve top – preferably with a high neckline.
The mosquitoes that spread dengue virus are known to bite in the daytime, so covering up throughout the day will reduce the risk of disease, while preventing sunburn. For those who are concerned about suffering in the heat, opt for loose fitted clothing in neutral shades. Long skirts and trousers are all preferable to shorts, vests and other clothing that exposes large areas of skin.
Wearing long-sleeved clothing isn’t the only approach that should be taken to cover up. Sweet smelling fragrances, perfumes and deodorants are also culprits for attracting mozzies, so opt for neutral soaps and sprays to prevent attracting them.
Travellers wanting to spend several days hiking, or long periods of time outdoors, can benefit from using high-tech clothing that acts as a deterrent to mosquitoes. There is now a specially designed fabric that protects against insects and mosquitoes, ensuring your skin is better protected from disease and the annoyance of being bitten.
Unlike other items of outdoor clothing, NosiLife is made with permanent protection woven into the fabric, meaning there’s no extra effort required for maintenance or treatment after wash or use. Not to mention, it comes with guarantee for life.
Designed for use in hotter climates, the NosiLife range also incorporates the ability to absorb moisture from the skin, keeping you cool and comfortable in the heat. Not to mention the ultra light weight garments also feature hidden pockets – if that doesn’t sum up everything that a true adventurer needs, we don’t know what does.