An industry guide to avoiding mosquito bites

Mosquito bites can ruin your holiday so if you’re someone who frequently gets bitten while you’re away its worth doing everything you can to avoid these little blighters. According to scientists one in five of us appeal to mosquitoes due to the chemical compounds on our skin, carbon dioxide we breathe out, the movements we make and the heat we generate. Are you one of them? If you are, it is worth noting mosquitoes can smell you from 50 yards, so make sure you protect yourself at all times. This will not only prevent itching and skin reactions, but it will also decrease your chances of contracting any mosquito-borne illnesses.

Those who work in travel have plenty of tricks to keep those pesky little biting bugs at bay – and they don’t involve standing perfectly still, wearing white or abstaining from drinking alcohol. So, take a look at what you need to do if you want to avoid those mosquito bites while on holiday. And if all your efforts fail you can always try a natural remedy as this will take the sting out of any bite.

How to avoid getting bitten

  • Brewer’s Yeast is high in vitamin B1 (thiamine) and gives off an odour through our pores. Although humans can’t smell it, mosquitoes don’t like it and will usually leave you alone if they get a whiff of it. As a guide start taking the tablets one week before you travel, then after a week’s course carry on taking the tablets for the duration of your stay.
  • Avon Skin So Soft dry oil body spray gives off an aroma that only mosquitoes can smell. When we contacted Avon, the department stated that this could be due to the citronellol ingredient that is used in this product. Citronellol is not used in any other Skin So Soft products, so make sure you look for the oil body spray. The dry oil spray isn’t advertised as a mosquito repellent but so many of us have found it a winner that we had to mention it.
  • When you arrive at your resort go to the local supermarket and buy a bag of citronella tea lights. Place them around your room and balcony to repel mosquitoes as they loathe the smell.
  • Boots Repel Tropical strength insect repellent spray contains 50% deet and is extremely effective in protecting against mosquitoes and midges – especially in tropical areas that have a higher risk of malaria.
  • One of the best ways to avoid getting bitten is to wear loose fitting clothes, not only are they more comfortable in hot and humid climates but mosquitoes will bite through clothing that is tight on the skin, especially if it’s a thin fabric.
  • Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, so you can expect to see them near lakes, swamps, stagnant creeks and small puddles. Many species stay close to where they breed and hatch so try and give these wet areas a wide berth.
  • Mosquitoes are attracted to dark coloured fabrics as they absorb heat from the sun, so it is advisable to wear light coloured clothes that will help you keep cool while avoiding any bites.
  • If you are going to be sleeping under the stars use a mosquito net. But make sure that it touches the floor so they can’t get under it.

How to deal with bites

  • Apply a cold compress to the tender area as this will help reduce any swelling.
  • Do not scratch the area as it can become infected. (This is real tough one to ask but trust us – don’t scratch bites!)
  • Antihistamines can also reduce the swelling from bites.
  • Tea tree and lavender oils have properties that alleviate the swelling, pain and itching from bites. Tea tree oil is also an antibacterial agent that can prevent infection.
  • The menthol in toothpastes creates a cooling sensation on the skin with its intrinsic astringency, this too helps reduce swelling.
  • Tea bags can help draw the fluid out of bites and reduce itching and swelling.
  • Ice cubes can constrict blood vessels and decrease the body’s natural histamine release, this can also ease itching and swelling.

We have all heard the old wives tale about avoiding alcohol that has a strong smell, avoiding dark spirits such as whiskey and not wearing perfume but we have never found any of these effective. Have we missed any? How do you avoid getting bitten abroad?