Rohit, a native blogger from India, tells us his secrets to fight mosquitoes!
While planning your trip to India, there are a couple of things you should note. Among a lot many of those things on your checklist, add this one too: “prepare to fight the little flying monsters!” And indeed, you should be prepared. Due to lack of sanitation and proper drainage systems, Indian grounds are a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. While most mosquitoes are harmless, some are very deadly. These lead to epidemic outbreaks of diseases such as Malaria, Dengue and Chikunguniya. Elephantiasis and Japanese encephalitis are some other diseases caused by mosquito bites.
As scary as it may sound, do remember “Prevention Is Better Than Cure.”Once you are fully informed and equipped to handle any such situation, you can experience the bliss this country has to offer. Here’s what you can do.
First step to avoid mosquitoes: Stay informed
The first and foremost preventive measure you can take is to stay informed about the place you are going to visit. Although mosquitoes are omnipresent, knowing about the types of diseases prevalent in the particular state (especially due to mosquitoes) will help you. Websites of Centre for disease control (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO) provide some information in this regard.
Furthermore, you must consult your doctor about the type of preventive measures you can take. There are no vaccines available for malaria, dengue or chikunguniya as of now. Although some preventive drugs are available for malaria, these should not be consumed without medical supervision whatsoever.
Stay informed about the type of breeding grounds these mosquitoes use, for instance, mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus breed in standing water that collects in or around the houses. Try to avoid such places. Also mosquitoes carrying dengue and chikunguniya virus tend to bite during the daytime while the malaria carrying mosquito is a night hunter.
The most efficient teqhnique aginst mosquitoes in India: Repel it away!
The easiest way to stay protected is to repel that bite. Do not let that anywhere near your skin and you’re good to go! There are plenty of equipments to help you accomplish this mission.
1. DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide) is one the most effective mosquito repellents. Use of insect repellents with DEET is highly recommended. But too much DEET can be harmful for your skin too. DEET comes in varying strengths and if you’re traveling with kids, it is better to use repellents that contain less than 24% strength DEET.
2. Use mosquito-nets soaked in permethrin, which is also an effective repellent. In fact, clothes, shoes and camping gear can also be soaked in permethrin.
3. Use flying-insect spray around sleeping areas. These are easily available in India and are more effective than burning coils. Burning coils is generally not advised, as these can cause suffocation and are dangerous.
4. You can buy the electric racquets and swing them around like a pro to get rid of the little flying monsters.
5. You can use the plug-in repellents, which are also easily available in any hotel.
6. Wear full protective clothing. Staying covered will minimise any chance of mosquito attacking your skin. Ointments such as odomos or MosBit can be applied on the skin to help prevent mosquito bites. These ointments are easily available at Indian drugstores.
7. Mosquitoes tend to be found near vegetation or stagnant water. This is very common on the roads or near roadsides in India. To avoid this stay indoors when it is dark outside and keep the windows closed, or have a mosquito screen in place to prevent the insects from entering your room.
8. Do not use perfumed soaps or shampoos as such fruity odours tend to attract mosquitoes.
9. You can also use natural repellents such as lemongrass-citronella. Another local device which is economical, eco-friendly and easily available is a dried resin that is lit and then the flame is extinguished. ‘Dhoop’ gives off a smoke as it burns down repelling those pesky mosquitoes.
Since, some people are at a higher risk of mosquito bite than others you must consult your doctor before planning a visit to India. Also, many bugs in certain areas become resistant to the drugs/chemicals described above. For instance, in some areas mosquitoes have become resistant to repellents such as permethrin. In such cases, using mosquito-nets would be a wise choice. It is helpful to collect such information before packing your first aid kit, especially if you’re travelling with kids.
These are just some preventive measures. But don’t you worry! A little prevention, a little information and lots of excitement are all you need to get set for your trip to India!
Rohit is an explorer at heart. He has travelled around India and loves to write about his experiences. He has written many travel related blogs and articles on the internet.