Mosquitos – The Breakdown and Prevention
Summertime calls for a variety of enjoyable outdoor activities. Nonetheless, whenever you go into the wild for a camping or hiking expedition, you share your space with a variety of animals and insects. Some of these insects are parasitic with the most dangerous being the mosquito. Thus, you should always prepare yourself adequately by learning how to prevent mosquito bites while hiking. According to recent studies, scientists believe that one in every five people is an appetizing target for these little blood sucking monsters. Are you one of those appetizing people?
There are approximately 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world and they are carriers of many illnesses. Some of the major mosquito-borne diseases include yellow fever, encephalitis, dengue, malaria, and West Nile virus. The male mosquitoes are in most cases not interested in sucking your blood. On the other hand, the females thirst for the protein and iron in your blood that assists them in the production of their eggs. from a distance of up to 50 yards, the mosquitoes can detect compounds that they are interested in.
The main compounds that mosquitoes are interested in include:
Scientists estimate that there are approximately 1 trillion microbes living on your skin and are responsible for your body odor. Around 10% of these microbes are common in all humans while the rest vary from one person to the other. Some people have a collection of microbes that are quite attractive to these blood suckers.
Mosquitoes are excellent at sniffing out compounds on your body and research shows that you have at least 277 compounds that can attract mosquitoes towards you. A majority of the compounds are concentrated behind the ears and on your heels. This high concentration is the prime reason why the mosquitoes will bite you behind the ears or on your heels.
Some of the favorite compounds include ammonia, carboxylic acid, and lactic acid. Additionally, carbon dioxide and octenol, found in your sweat and breathe, will attract the suckers towards you. The more you emit these chemicals, the more you become attractive to the mosquitoes. Naturally, adults sweat more than children hence are bitten more than children.
Heat and Movements
Research has shown that mosquitoes are also highly attracted to heat and movement. Thus, if you are out hiking during summer and you are sweating, you become an ideal target for these insects.
Mosquitoes have been discovered to like old sweat and not new sweat. Research shows that there are many bacteria in your sweat that cause chemical changes. These chemical changes in your sweat are responsible for the attraction of mosquitoes. Your sweat does not have any odor until these bacteria act on it. The microbes act on sweat components converting them into ammonia that is attractive to mosquitoes.
Since the mosquitoes not only suck your blood but also transmit diseases, you should take every possible measure to avoid their bites. To successfully avoid mosquito bites, you should know where they live, how to repel the pests, and if they confront you, learn how to kill them.
How to Prevent Mosquito Bites
Wear Mosquito Repellent
There is a wide variety of mosquito repellents available for sale at sporting and camping goods stores. When you go camping, apply the repellent to every part of your uncovered skin. If you are using any sunscreen, you should apply it before the mosquito repellent. It is recommended to apply repellents that comprise of 30% to 50% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide). These repellents are manufactured for adults and children over 2 months of age. These repellents are highly effective for several hours while those with lower concentrations provide short-term protection hence you need to apply them more often.
If you apply high concentration of DEET directly on your skin and for long periods of time, it can irritate your skin. In some cases it may result in severe reactions on your skin. Though some people purport that DEET causes cancer, it has not been scientifically proven. Hence, it is a safe way to prevent mosquito bites while you are out hiking or camping.
There is a number of all-natural solutions that repel mosquitoes. Some of the proven solutions include Citronella (an all-natural plant oil) either used in lighting an oil lantern or applied to your skin, vitamin B solution and tea tree oil. However, you should note that their effectiveness depend on your skin chemistry, your current situation, and the type of mosquito you are dealing with. Thus, these solutions’ effectiveness varies from place to place and from one person to the other. Since these solutions are not held to testing standards, make sure that you read all testimonials before buying any of the solutions.
When you go out camping, wear long pants and socks. Also, wear loose and long-sleeved shirts to minimize cases of mosquito bites. Covering your skin is a simple and effective way of averting cases of mosquito bites. Always make sure that before you embark on your adventure as much of your skin as possible is covered. Your clothing should also be as loose as possible to guarantee your comfort in the hot, humid weather where mosquitoes thrive.
Additionally, your clothing should be loose because in some cases mosquitoes can bite through your clothing if the fabric is thin and tightly held against the skin. Budget for the specially-designed pants and shirts made out of strong yet lightweight material ideal for camping and hiking purposes. These clothes are exemplary in offering your significant protect from mosquito bites while simultaneously giving you a high level of comfort. You may also spray you clothes with mosquito repellents to enhance your protection.
A mosquito net should be included in your luggage when you go out camping. The nets have big enough holes to allow breezes to pass through freely while small enough to keep mosquitoes away. Make sure that the net is not tight on your skin when you sleep since mosquitoes can bite you through the net.
Eliminating Individual Mosquitoes
You can grab individual mosquitoes from the air and eliminate them though it is a tedious process. You can use a mosquito swatter to hit a stationary mosquito. Also, you may use your hand in a flipping motion to act as an improvised swatter. When you are out camping, you contest with many mosquitoes hence you should use other easier and efficient methods to avoid mosquito bites.
- Since mosquitoes are attracted to the lactic acid resulting from sweat, you should take showers frequently to avoid mosquito bites.
- Avoid wearing blue and other dark colors since mosquitoes tend to be attracted to these colors.
- Mentholated petroleum jelly acts a mosquito repellent. Therefore, apply the jelly on every part of your uncovered skin.
- If you go hiking to a place where citronella plants grow, look for one and break one off a twig. The smell of these plants have been discovered to discourage and repel mosquitoes