How to Prevent Mosquito Bites: 15 Strategies for Effective Mosquito Prevention
Introduction It is a misconception that mosquitoes thrive only in tropical, warm environments. They can also survive in temperate and colder regions during summer and spring. It is challenging to avoid mosquito bites. Here are some 15 tips to prevent mosquito bites while sleeping. Mosquito bites are frequent during the warm monsoon season, they also make their presence felt during winter. Mosquito bites cause red, itchy bumps on the skin and can even cause life-threatening diseases like dengue, malaria, chikungunya and zika. Therefore, knowing how to prevent mosquito bites effectively is vital. 1. Steer Clear of Mosquito Habitats Mosquitoes require still, stagnant water to lay their eggs. Young mosquitoes can hatch and grow in anything that holds even a small amount of water. Therefore, clearing stagnant water and trash is necessary, especially during monsoon season. Remove old tyres as they are considered prime mosquito nurseries. Drill holes in them to let water drain out. Do not pile up on cups, cans, empty bottles and other forms of trash. Discard trash responsibly. Empty children’s buckets and pools after use. Eliminate still water in plastic covers, gutters, toys and other containers that are great mosquito havens. Change and empty water in fountains, bird baths, rain barrels, wading pools and potted plant trays at least once during the week, thus destroying potential mosquito breeding grounds. Fill temporary water pools with dirt. Treat and circulate water in swimming pools. 2. Dress Wisely Deep-coloured clothing, like deep blue, red and black, stands out and attracts bugs. Therefore, wear light-coloured clothes, especially when you head outdoors. When mosquitoes are overly active in the evening, wear full-sleeve shirts, socks and long, preferably loose pants. Always tuck the pants under the socks or shoes so that no surface area on the body remains open. 3. Opt for Woven Clothing Breathable fabrics with tight weaves, like nylon, cotton, and denim, are difficult for mosquitoes to penetrate. On the other hand, they can easily bite through lighter and thinner fabrics like spandex. So, always choose tightly woven fabrics. Also, choose clothes pretreated with the insecticide permethrin if you reside in a mosquito-prone region. Mosquitoes that land on this kind of clothing fly off and eventually die. 4. Use Mosquito Repellents You can use different mosquito repellent lotions, sprays and creams that effectively ward off mosquitoes. These are infused with chemicals and herbal oils that keep mosquitoes at bay with their fragrance. However, choosing the right repellent is very important here. AAP or the American Academy of Paediatrics recommends DEET repellents that protect against West Nile virus, Zika virus and Lyme disease. Other effective mosquito repellents contain PMD, IR3535 insecticide or picaridin, which are considered safe when used as instructed. Check for skin irritations when choosing mosquito repellents, especially for children and pregnant women. Avoid spraying the content around the mouth and eyes. Use them on the feet, ankles, wrists and lower legs- these are the thin-skinned areas of the body where mosquitoes usually bite. 5. Use Mosquito Nets How do we prevent mosquito bites while sleeping? By using mosquito nets! They are specifically useful in humid and warm places throughout the year and create a physical barrier that protects from mosquito bites while sleeping. Well-fitted screens on windows and doors are also good to keep mosquitoes away from entering your home or other premises. But then you must ensure they are repaired from time to time. Check for holes large enough for insects to come through. Patch up all such holes on your window or door screen. 6. Safeguard the Backyard Use a mosquito lantern with a permethrin release function in your backyard, especially if it is semi-enclosed or features a pool with two to three walls. Do not choose torches, lanterns and citronella candles, as even the slightest breeze can blow away the active ingredients in these products. You can depend on wind power to ward off mosquitoes from open areas surrounding your premises. Another option is to set up a big box fan in the yard. Once the air speed of the fan reaches more than 1 mile per hour, mosquitoes will find it challenging to fly. Also, fill up your home and garden with mosquito-repellent plants like citronella, feverfew and lavender. 7. Always Have Mosquito Dunks Handy Mosquito dunks are small, doughnut-shaped tablets that release bacteria known to kill mosquito larvae. The bacteria do not harm plants, animals and humans and are thus the perfect solution for homeowners who want to know how to prevent mosquito bites. These small dunks are also effective in potentially infected regions like rain barrels, fish ponds and bird baths. Therefore, you must always have them handy. 8. Stay Indoors During Dawn and Dusk Culex and Anopheles mosquitoes that cause dangerous infections are most prevalent during dusk and dawn, primarily dusk. Therefore, you must avoid the outdoors as much as possible during these times of the day. 9. Keep the Surrounding Landscape Clean Well-trimmed shrubs and trees improve the air circulation of a property. Increased airflow pushes the mosquitoes out of the area. 10. Use Bug Zappers Bug zappers or mosquito traps use UV light and carbon dioxide to attract and kill mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are attracted to the blue glow of these traps. Just one of these electronic mosquito killers from a good brand offers half an acre of coverage. 11. Burn Neem Leaves and Repellent Oils Looking for a budget-friendly way to prevent mosquito bites? Get some neem leaves from the backyard and burn them safely at the entrance of your house or other mosquito-prone areas. This effectively purifies the surroundings as mosquitoes cannot bear the smell of burning neem leaves. You can also use affordable repellent coils that burn for seven hours and release a smoke-containing pyrethroid. This serves as a spatial repellent for mosquitoes and even other insects. 12. Say No to Scented Products Research has proved that scented products, like lotions, shampoos, soaps, aromatic oils or perfumes, attract mosquitoes more. Thus, try to use such products less, or opt for products with a very light scent or no scent. 13. Use Yellow Lights in the Outdoors Replace outdoor illuminators with bright, yellow lights. These do not repel mosquitoes but usually attract fewer of them. 14. Limit Your Movement Activity and movement make you more apparent to the mosquitoes. When these bugs get closer to land, they sense body heat, indicating where blood is the closest to the surface. Hence, they know where to feed. More activity and movement will raise your skin temperature, thus making you stand out easily. 15. Avoid Alcohol Studies show that consuming alcohol also makes people attractive to mosquitoes. This is because alcohol increases the blood flow to the skin and the metabolic rate. The latter boosts CO2 production, which helps the mosquitoes find their food sources faster and make you the centre of their attacks. Conclusion Mosquito bites do not cause any harm and resolve themselves after a few hours. Nevertheless, they can be annoying, itchy and sore in their appearance. Follow the tips above to eliminate those red, swollen bumps on your skin faster and more effectively.