Five Ways to Protect Yourself from Mosquitoes
Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) and Japanese encephalitis (JE) are both rare but potentially fatal mosquito-borne viral diseases. Recent Australian reports of the two serve as a reminder of the importance of avoiding mosquito bites.
Here are five ways you can protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne diseases:
1. Repel, repel, repel
The most effective insect repellents contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), Citriodiol (extract of lemon eucalyptus or PMD) or Picaridin. Also very effective is Permethrin, a synthetic contact insecticide used to impregnate fabric and mosquito nets (available in easy-to-use kits). You can purchase insect repellent through the Travelvax online store.
2. Dress for success
You can discourage mosquitoes from biting you by wearing long-sleeved, light-coloured and loose clothing. Keep in mind that mosquitoes can bite through tight or light-weight clothing, so cover up and add shoes and socks where possible.
3. Stay safe from dusk to dawn
Try to avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active; this will be dependent on the species of mosquitoes that transmits the illness. In the case of MVE and JE, it is from dusk to dawn. If you are outside, slip on protective clothing and slop on insect repellent.
4. Mosquito proof your home
Use fly screens on the entrances to your home (e.g., windows and doors) and put mosquito nets over beds if you are in a high-risk area. Additionally, air-conditioned rooms allow you to keep windows closed and insects outside, and cool environments are less attractive to many insects. Air currents from fans and air conditioners seem to repel flying insects.
5. Stop them at the source
Most importantly, stop mosquitoes from breeding in and around your home. Clean your gutters regularly, and dispose of any palm fronds and containers that may become stagnant water sources and breeding sites. You can also add some sand to the bottom of your plant saucers; that way you can keep your plants quenched while stopping them from becoming mosquito breeding grounds.
Remember, prevention is the best (and often the only) way to avoid the serious symptoms that can come with mosquito-borne disease.
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