In many countries insects carry dangerous, sometimes fatal diseases. While mosquitoes pose the main risk to travellers, bites from sand flies, ticks, fleas, and even bedbugs can transmit diseases.
Among the more common mosquito-borne diseases are Malaria, Dengue fever, Chikungunya virus, Zika virus, Ross River virus, and West Nile virus, while less common diseases include Yellow Fever and Japanese Encephalitis.
Insect-borne diseases are mainly found in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of developing countries. However, international travel and trade coupled with climate change, has seen the vectors (insects) extend their reach into temperate regions of developing and developed countries.
Taking measures to prevent bites is more important than ever in protection against insect-borne diseases.
Sleep in insect-proof accommodation. Sleep inside a mosquito net, preferably one impregnated with permethrin.
If bedbugs are suspected, move the bed away from the walls and leave a light on as bedbugs are most active in the dark. Sleep in sheets impregnated with permethrin to further reduce attacks.
It is recommended to wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants when outdoors after sunset. Day-biting mosquitoes can also transmit diseases such as dengue.
Avoid dark-coloured clothing and strong scents such as perfume, aftershave and perfumed cosmetics/deodorants as these may attract mosquitoes. The safest colours to wear are beige or khaki.
Use personal repellents on exposed skin. The most effective mosquito repellents contain DEET. Repel Tropical Strength repellents contain 30-40% DEET which is considered optimum for adults. Higher concentrations of DEET do not offer significantly increased protection. Reapply your personal insect repellent regularly. Repel Junior has much lower DEET concentration and is safer to use on children but must be applied more frequently.
Remember to apply insect repellents AFTER you apply your sunscreen.
Soak clothing, mosquito nets, sleep sheets and tents in permethrin prior to travel. This is a practical and easy method and kills bedbugs, lice, fleas, mites, ticks, flies, mosquitoes and bees. Permethrin kills insects on contact and yet is safe to humans, colourless, odourless and biodegradable.
Travel Doctor-TMVC has a range of insect avoidance materials available for purchase including Repel insect repellent in various strengths, mosquito nets, Permethrin Debugger kit and sleeping bag liners. For a full list of the items available – contact your local Travel Doctor-TMVC clinic
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Suite 1, Ground Floor
55-67 Hindmarsh Square
Adelaide SA 5000
Level 5, West Tower
410 Ann Street
Brisbane QLD 4000
Coolangatta Medical Centre
4/91 Griffith Street
Coolangatta QLD 4225
Suite 14, Lena Karmel Lodge
1 Childers Lane
Canberra ACT 2601
215 Spring Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Wodonga West Medical Clinic
60-62 Waratah Way
Wodonga VIC 3690
28 Cranbourne Road
(PO Box 889)
Frankston VIC 3199
P15 Southgate Arts & Leisure Precinct
3 Southgate Avenue
Southbank VIC 3006
847 Hay Street
Perth WA 6000
60 Margaret St,
Sydney NSW 2000
23 Chamberlain Street
Campbelltown NSW 2560
Artarmon Medical Centre
134-136 Hampden Road
Artarmon NSW 2064
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